Massachusetts legislators overwhelmingly passed critical climate and justice legislation. But Governor Baker vetoed the bill – choosing not only to ignore sound science, but also to let decades of racist policy targeting low-income, Black, and Brown communities go unchallenged.
“On Earth Day, we cheered as Governor Baker declared net-zero emissions by 2050 an enforceable order under the state’s landmark climate law,” said CLF President Bradley Campbell. “With the stroke of his veto pen, the Governor has mocked this commitment he trumpeted just nine months ago. This irresponsible veto – admittedly at the behest of special interest lobbyists – deprives the Commonwealth’s families and businesses of the tools they need to cut emissions in a just and economically beneficial way. The Governor has drastically set us back in reaching our climate goals.”
Last week, we witnessed a violent display of white supremacy at the U.S. Capitol – a calculated threat to our democracy incited by our sitting president and his unrepentant allies. As an organization dedicated to the rule of law, we at CLF are demanding the thorough investigation, prosecution, and punishment of all of those connected to it – from the inciter-in-chief to those acting at his urging.
“For years, state energy officials have unlawfully shut out Spanish-speaking East Boston and Chelsea residents from decisions that will impact their communities for generations,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Interim Director of the Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program at CLF. “We rely on the EPA to enforce civil rights laws, which guarantee residents a say in what happens in their communities. Without action by the agency, the community has no chance to right this egregious wrong.”
“Roughly half of all right whale deaths are because they are run over and killed by speeding boats, and this unprecedented delay is only making matters worse,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to force regulators to make the common-sense decision to reduce vessel speeds in areas where right whales are present. The new administration must act quickly and avoid repeating the same mistakes of the Trump years.”
You can’t protect the environment without helping the community. This idea is the backbone for Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), one of the community-based recipients of funds from CLF’s successful lawsuit against Boston’s school bus operator, which was violating clean air laws.
HEET is using funds received from CLF’s settlement with Boston’s school bus operator to support its work to cut carbon emissions.
Speak for the Trees focuses on education, empowerment, and advocacy. Yes, they host tree giveaways and tree planting events, but, as its founder explains, “it’s more than just a tree. It’s a way of adapting to this new climate that we’re facing. It’s a way of making sure that Boston is resilient for the future.”
In our latest case to stop toxic tailpipe pollution, we sued Transdev Services, Inc., under the federal Clean Air Act. Transdev is a leading provider of transportation throughout the country, including Boston’s public school buses. CLF is holding Transdev accountable by requiring them to fund projects at three local nonprofit organizations: Speak for the Trees, HEET (the Home Energy Efficiency Team), and Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE).
It’s tempting to boil down good health solely to factors like medical care, healthy food, and exercise. However, many other dynamics, like historic redlining and racial segregation, along with substandard housing, air pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of access to jobs, healthy food, and green space, all play a role. Perhaps no one understands the interplay of these factors better than those who work in healthcare, including Dr. Thea James, who serves as Boston Medical Center’s Associate Chief Medical Officer, Vice President of Mission, and Director of the Violence Prevention.