• Group of people standing in a semi circle behind a sign with A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice Act. There is a man, Representative Grijalva, standing at a podium. The US Capitol is in the background.

Aquariums Celebrate the introduction of the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act

As the nation’s leading aquariums and zoos, we celebrate the reintroduction of the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act (EJ for All Act), now named in honor and memory of Rep. McEachin, a visionary leader for environmental justice and champion for cleaner waterways and healthier communities. We strongly support this landmark legislation, which was developed in close collaboration with communities impacted by environmental racism and health inequities.

Every person deserves access to healthy aquatic ecosystems and the services they provide. Yet, these resources are rarely equitably distributed. At the heart of our institutions’ conservation efforts is a desire to build a more fair and equitable future for all. We know that this can only be achieved by recognizing embedded inequalities, such as environmental racism, and by consistently prioritizing equity and environmental justice as provided for in the EJ for All Act.

Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, as well as low-income communities have been intentionally excluded and misrepresented in the development of projects that have the potential to create environmental harms and negative health impacts disproportionately experienced by the same communities. The EJ for All Act seeks to address and remedy this by requiring:

  • Early and meaningful involvement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by environmental justice communities in projects that may affect them.
  • The creation of Community Impact Reports, assessing and describing if and how a project will exacerbate or contribute to adverse health outcomes including historical patterns of exposure and cumulative effects.
  • Consideration of cumulative impacts on human health in Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act decisions.
  • More equitable access to parks, outdoors spaces and outdoor recreation opportunities.

The EJ for All Act, described by the bill’s authors as “rooted in the moral principle that all people have the right to clean air, clean water, and an environment that enriches life”, is a long overdue response to the challenges inequitably faced by environmental justice communities. We celebrate its reintroduction and look forward to working with Congress and our partners to move this legislation forward.

Crislyn McKerron
Executive Director
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Tom Schmid
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Roger Germann
President & CEO
The Florida Aquarium

Jason Patlis
President & CEO
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Julie Packard
Executive Director
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Susette Tibus
Acting CEO
Mystic Aquarium

John Racanelli
National Aquarium

Kurt Strand
President & CEO
The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

Alan Varsik
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Robert Davidson
Seattle Aquarium

Bridget C. Coughlin, PhD
President & CEO
John G. Shedd Aquarium