Federal Environmental Justice Legislation Introduced

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), introduced the Environmental Justice Act of 2017 – HR 270.


  • The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide support to environmental justice (EJ) communities and projects.


  • The bill provides credits to nonprofit (501(c)(3) organizations against taxes imposed on wages paid to employees for providing assistance to EJ communities or projects.


    Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced an environmental justice bill - S.1996.


  • The bill protects low-income and minority communities from environmental problems.


  • The bill requires federal agencies to address environmental justice through agency actions and permitting decisions.


  • The bill strengthens legal protections against environmental injustice for communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities.


  • Citizens have the right to bring actions under the Civil Rights Act against entities engaging in discriminatory practices.


  • A total of six bills and one resolution addressing environmental justice have been introduced in the first session of the 115th Congress.

Why it’s important:

At the local level, more and more communities appear to be taking EJ seriously. Whether or not S. 1996 has any traction in the Congress, scrap recyclers will need to think about the impact of their operations on their surrounding communities.


  • ISRI has developed draft guidance to help scrap recyclers that work with EJ communities proactively or to respond to environmental justice claims and work with communities to seek possible remedies.


    New EJ Working Group

    ISRI recently announced that it has formed an Environmental Working Group.

  • Colin Kelly, Chairman of ISRI’s Government Relations Committee expects the group to meet telephonically in the first or second week of December 2017.


  • The group will review and comment on the draft guidance and address EJ matters that affect the scrap recycling industry.


Contacts: Billy Johnson about the legislation, (202) 662-8548; David Wagger about technical issues and the EJ Working Group, (202) 662-8533.


For a copy of HR 270, Congressman Lewis’ environmental justice bill, go to Congress.gov. At the top of the page, in the box to the right of “Current Legislation,” type HR 270, press “enter,” and the bill comes up. Then click the “Text,” tab. Follow the same directions to view Sen. Booker’s EJ bill, S 2996. (To see all bills and the resolution introduced in the Congress in 2017, type environmental justice in the box at the top of the Congress.gov page to the right of “Current Legislation.”


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