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MEJC Warns Against Our Government Sacrificing Frontline Communities

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

For Immediate Release

July 28, 2022

Contact: Juan Jhong-Chung, (857) 233-3717,

DETROIT, MI - Last night, the US Senate unveiled the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a package negotiated between Senator Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Schumer (D-NY). While the bill language includes energy and climate provisions for communities of color and low-income communities, it also includes large expenditures on harmful technologies such as nuclear power, hydrogen, and carbon capture; and it expands oil and gas leasing in federal lands and waters for decades to come. The environmental and climate justice movements have fought bravely and tirelessly to finally get Congress to act on climate. But this bill is not what we asked for. Our communities in Michigan are dealing with heat waves, flooding, air pollution, lead in drinking water, and the legacies of racism and political disenfranchisement. We cannot afford half-baked proposals when our planet is burning. Join us in demanding that President Biden immediately declare a climate emergency under the National Emergencies Act. This will unlock special powers to fast track renewable projects that will benefit us all. We don’t want to be sacrificed, we deserve to thrive!

In response to these recent developments, Juan Jhong-Chung, Climate Justice Director at MEJC, said:

“From Detroit to Marquette, we can come together to take action on the damage to our climate and create the country we need: one where everyone is cared for and our communities have what we need to be healthy. At a critical time when we need to be phasing out fossil fuels, this bill increases dirty and polluting developments in federal lands, and leaves the door open for more oil pipelines. The small amount of Environmental Justice investments in this deal feel like window dressing. They do not offset all the harms that many of our people in Michigan and around the country will suffer. We ask our elected leaders to not cave into the fossil fuel agenda. As it stands, this bill will prolong unjust harms in our communities.”

Jamesa Johnson-Greer, Executive Director at MEJC, expanded:

“Our elected officials are failing to deal with the climate crisis. The influence of the fossil fuel industry in our democracy is evident when Sen. Manchin, one of the main negotiators tasked with addressing this crisis, is also the Democrat with the most contributions from the same industry wreaking havoc on the planet and our communities. Some of the Environmental Justice investments included in the package have the potential to help our communities, but we cannot in good conscience support a deal that will also bring harm to our people. The solution is clear. President Biden must declare a National Climate Emergency, and our government must immediately start phasing out fossil fuels. No matter our race or zip code, we all deserve a country that’s cleaner and more fair. We want a future where our communities are free from the heatwaves, floods, and air pollution caused by the damage to our climate. We are coming together to demand that our leaders move to a decade of a Just Transition and leave no one behind.”

Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC) is a statewide coalition of more than 40 Environmental Justice groups. We work to achieve a clean, healthy, and safe environment for Michigan residents most affected by pollution and climate change. We work in alignment with the Principles of Environmental Justice, and cultivate relationships based on the Jemez Principles. We build power and unity within our community, so we all can thrive.

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