Environmental Justice

Graphic: Ricardo Morales Levins (2006) 

MPHA is committed to building power in communities experiencing high concentrations of pollution, including low-income communities, communities of color, and English as an additional language (EAL) households, to advance and enforce climate policy that prevents and mitigates the public health impacts of environmental racism. Our goals include:

  • Reducing pollution, disease, and public health emergencies in environmental justice communities by passing legislation to increase community oversight in the siting of energy facilities.
  • Increasing legal remedies available to individuals harmed by government policies or actions by expanding state civil rights protections.
  • Expanding indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring and enforcement in environmental justice communities.
Promoting Partnerships: Healthier Air for All

Residents of color at all levels of community – in Roxbury, Greater Boston, and statewide – experience greater exposure to air pollution and suffer poor health outcomes – including lung and other cancers – due to poor air quality. This is by design. Racism has shaped urban planning decisions, resulting in a built environment that segregates Black, Indigenous, and communities of color; and policies that fail to protect BIPOC communities from industries.  

To make significant, long-term improvements to air quality in Roxbury and beyond, policies must address multiple sectors, including housing and transportation. Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE) and MPHA have partnered together to mobilize residents and partner organizations to advance local and state policies that make Massachusetts a cleaner, safer place to breathe. 

Our collaboration aims to reduce air pollution at the source by reducing emissions from transportation and buildings, creating healthier communities in Roxbury and other environmental justice communities that have disproportionately suffered from air pollution.  

Through city and state policies like the Energy Facilities Siting Reform bill, we aim to advance more robust monitoring and accountability mechanisms to ensure air pollution impacts in environmental justice communities are measured and adequately addressed in the future.  

Even more fundamentally, this partnership aims to change who has power to impact policies regarding healthy communities. For far too long, communities of color have not had a seat at the table when local and state decisions on transportation, planning, and development have been made. This systemic disregard is at the root of health inequities. Through this project, we will work to ensure that residents most impacted are educated, organized, and equipped to change the conditions in their own neighborhoods. 

2023-2024 Legislation Endorsed by MPHA 

An Act Promoting Drinking Water Quality for All (H.902/S.482) by Rep. Sena, Rep. Pingatelli, Sen. Elderidge, and Sen. Edwards 

Massachusetts does not currently have any statewide protections to ensure well water is safe for residents outside of the public water system. This legislation will enable the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to develop a set of health-based regulations which would provide statewide water quality standards for private drinking water wells. 

Fact Sheet

MPHA is organizing in solidarity with the Environmental Justice Table to advance the following bills: 

Energy Facility Siting Reform (H.3187/S.2113) by Rep. Adrian Madaro, Sens. DiDomenico 

Too often polluting power plants, electrical substations, and gas compressor stations are concentrated within communities where people of color, low-income people, and EAL households live and work. This legislation requires community engagement prior to filing for environmental or siting board review of a petition to construct power plants. Additionally, it prohibits the approval of electricity generating facilities or substations if the environmental justice impact statement shows that they would result in public health or other harms to EJ populations. 

Fact Sheet 

Access to Justice (H.1677/S.953) by Rep. Meschino and Sen. DiDomenico 

This legislation ensures that Massachusetts residents have access to legal pathways to protect themselves from environmental discrimination. 

Fact Sheet 

World Asthma Day 2023 – #WeStillCantBreathe
%d bloggers like this: