As the nation grapples with the pandemics of racism and COVID-19, President Trump decimated protections for the Atlantic’s only marine national monument, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts. That’s illegal — and CLF and our partners will fight this rollback.
“Once again, the president is making cynical use of the national crises he has inflamed to pander to the very few New Englanders who may still have faith in his leadership,” said Bradley Campbell, President of CLF. “Having ravaged our economy nationally, Trump is now dismantling the few protections now in place to avert the demise of New England’s traditional marine fisheries, culture, and economy. We call on the New England delegation and the public to fight this attack on our ocean and our future by all means available.”
All of us at CLF are reeling from and sharing in the national outrage over the murders and persecution of black people perpetrated and condoned by the police and other state actors. Racial justice is at the heart of climate justice, and we fight for both.
“Preventing residents from commenting on a project that will have enormous impacts on their community is not only shameful but a form of discrimination,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Director of CLF’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program. “East Boston and Chelsea already experience some of the worst air quality and pollution in the state and adding yet another industrial facility will only compound these injustices. State leaders need to be held accountable for silencing community concerns to push this project through.”
The complaint states that “Spanish-speaking residents were left with no way of understanding what was said during the two- and half-hour hearing, and no ability to understand and thus respond to or echo the testimony of others as an English-speaking resident might have done. When these residents were finally permitted to speak — following hours of English-only, complex, and technical testimony by parties, intervenors, and limited participants — they had no context or confidence to share their perspective, rendering the record essentially incomplete.”
“When we have an opportunity to set up whole new systems for the safe conveyance of food products, there is no reason why we must settle for systems that include single-use plastics,” Pecci said.
Cutting pollution, particularly for communities most harmed by the threats from COVID-19 allows Vermont to rebuild in a way that grows good paying jobs and sustains Vermont as healthy place to live and work for everyone now, and for future generations. Creating more resilient communities ensures a thriving Vermont and a brighter future.
“Now, we should be able to, number one, get back to business as usual and redeem those bottles and cans that people have stacked in their basements and in their garages,” said Kirstie Pecci of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Zero Waste Program. “And then, number two, we know that it’s time to stop using single-use plastic. It’s not protecting us from the virus.”
“The scientific community has made it clear that the risk of transmitting the virus by touching a bag or bottle is almost nonexistent,” CLF said in a statement. The groups also want the state to end its temporary ban on reusable grocery bags.
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that essential communities like Chelsea and East Boston are continually put at environmental risk. We deserve better. We must invest in transit systems that serve Chelsea and East Boston riders affordably, reliably, and safely. Doing so will not only improve our ability to get around but will improve our public health and our climate.