For far too long, low-income communities and communities of color across the United States have faced the disproportionate burdens of environmental injustice and crumbling infrastructure which have been further intensified because of climate change.
I was recently appointed to serve on the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA established the LGAC to incorporate local voices and diverse representation into national solutions for infrastructure development, climate resiliency, economic opportunity, and environmental justice. The LGAC provides advice and recommendations that assist the EPA in developing stronger community partnerships and building state and local capacity to deliver environmental services.
In this role, I am eager to work alongside community leaders to advance more efficient and effective environmental protections at the community, state, and federal levels. Moreover, my goal is to make sure that federal dollars fund local government directly to avoid further delays in serving communities across Cook County.
As a native South Sider and lifelong Chicagoan, I am proud to represent the residents of Cook County to ensure that the benefits of investments from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act (BIA), and other federal environmental efforts reach communities like ours.
The IRA, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in Summer 2022, attempts to address this legacy of disinvestment through provisions that intentionally target disadvantaged communities. This legislation contains $369 billion in climate and energy funds and is celebrated as the largest investment towards climate change improvement in federal history. Once enacted, the Inflation Reduction Act is projected to reduce U.S greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40% through its effects on energy, transportation, manufacturing, and more. The IRA makes historic investments in climate and energy and will enable the United States to tackle the climate crisis while advancing environmental justice through initiatives that direct funding towards low-income individuals and disadvantaged communities to promote affordable and accessible clean energy.
As the federal government prepares for implementation of the IRA, executive and agency administrators are relying on local leaders to inform and enact on-the-ground efforts to advance community-based environmental solutions.
“Our partnerships with local governments are critical to the EPA’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and ensure that investments from the IRA, signed into law by President Biden, reach the communities that need it the most,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
I urge you to join me in prioritizing and advancing environmental justice, by staying active in local elections, engaging in environmental solutions throughout the community, and, of course, reaching out to me and your other elected officials to ensure that your voice is heard.
Commissioner Kim du Buclet
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago