In 2018, DC enacted the Clean Energy Omnibus Amendment Act, considered one of the most forward-thinking city policies on clean energy in the country. Yet, that legislation failed frontline communities in our city, like Brentwood and others that remain over-exposed to industrial hazards. The Act failed to eliminate lead pipes and other environmental hazards in our school buildings and public housing properties. I support a Green New Deal for DC and stand with environmental justice advocates who have fought for the environmental needs of our frontline communities for years. We cannot claim to lead the country in mitigating the threat of climate change without leading the city by protecting our frontline communities from environmental injustices.
We also need to understand that not all communities recover the same from the more frequent flooding, hurricanes, and fires caused by climate change. As a former federal Special Agent in Charge, I’ve led the Office of Inspector General’s strategic mission and priorities in HUD’s $83.9 billion Disaster Recovery portfolio. I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact natural disasters of all types have on communities across the country. I’ve spoken with people who didn’t have enough money to leave their homes before disasters struck and stayed only to wonder if they would survive. My experience, these conversations, along with witnessing the environmental injustices in DC communities, form the core of my belief that environmental justice is one of DC’s most immediate challenges.
I will work to:
Speed up our decarbonization efforts through a justice-first transition for all communities towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Our frontline communities don’t have 20 years to wait for the promise of a clean environment and critical infrastructure retrofits.
Fight for our frontline communities through a justice-first approach. Communities of color and working-class families are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards and pollution, but in reality, we’re all affected by the consequences of pollution and climate change. Environmental equity means to poison all people equally; environmental justice means to stop poisoning people, period. To protect all of us, we must defend communities who disproportionately suffer the worst health outcomes from environmental hazards and climate change by enacting policies that combat environmental injustices and ensure long-term community resilience.
Protect and invest in our public housing residents by transitioning public housing developments to net-zero energy consumption by improving the energy efficiency of buildings and installing energy-efficient windows, electric heat pumps, and renewable energy rooftops to reduce energy consumption.
Make homes healthy by subsidizing costs, based on income, for family homes to transition from oil heat to heat pumps, expanding current rebates for heat pumps, and removing rebates for fossil fuel and gas appliances.
Create green jobs that pay workers livable wages, offer good benefits, have strong worker protections, and build on the Solar for All program and DC’s existing 100% renewable electricity law.