[EAST ST. LOUIS, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-founder and co-chair of the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, today joined the United Congregations of the Metro East and community members for a discussion about her continued efforts to help bring environmental justice to the Metro East. Duckworth has been a leader in bringing national attention to and providing oversight of the ongoing flooding and sewage issues in Cahokia Heights and East St. Louis, as well as hazardous air pollution in Sauget, while also working to secure federal investments to help these communities address these problems.

“For too long, communities like East St. Louis, Sauget and Cahokia Heights have unfairly borne the brunt of environmental injustice, which is why I’m committed to making sure they have the resources to improve their infrastructure and the necessary government oversight to make these improvements,” Duckworth said. “Since joining the U.S. Senate, I’ve put environmental justice at the heart of my work and have been laser-focused on supporting these communities, including by authoring the water and wastewater provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that are helping these Metro East communities fix these problems and elevating the voices of frontline communities like these into the federal permitting and regulatory process.”

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As co-chair and co-founder of the U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, Duckworth has been a strong advocate for bringing environmental justice to Illinois and across the country. Her Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as the most significant federal investment in history to help rebuild our nation’s crumbling and dangerous water infrastructure, with many of the provisions to help low-income communities designed specifically for communities like Cahokia Heights and East St. Louis. Duckworth is also the lead Senate sponsor of the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act, the most comprehensive environmental justice legislation in history.

In the Metro East, Duckworth has consistently worked to bring attention to the environmental injustice,calling on EPA to conduct enhanced monitoring and enforcement of the area, requesting a formal public health assessment by ATSDR on the impact of decades of flooding in Cahokia Heights and working to provide federal oversight and funding to repair the failing water system and improve the community members lives. Duckworth has frequentlymet with residents to discuss the persistent inland flooding and environmental justice issues the community faces, including leading a federal delegation tour of the area. In Sauget, Duckworth has made multiple requests for air monitoring in the area and secured EPA enhanced air monitoring in 2021. The Senator also requested a formal health consultation to be performed by ATSDR of the area, measuring the health impacts of the Veolia plant’s hazardous waste incinerators. This report is expected to be published by the end of the year.

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