BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), alongside Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), and Mayor Michelle Wu, joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator David Cash to announce that the Lower Neponset River will be designated as a Superfund site to improve the ecological and environmental health of the river and surrounding communities.
“The best collaborations are those which are community-driven and government-endorsed, and this project is so symbolic of that symbiotic partnership and relationship,” said Rep. Pressley. “Today’s action by the EPA is the result of years of work by grassroots organizers and advocacy groups who fought for both our review and the removal of contamination from this river that runs through my district. No one should have to live, work, or go to school near a contaminated site and communities across the Massachusetts Seventh, and our country simply cannot afford to wait any longer for the protections that they deserve.”
Find a full transcript of Rep. Pressley’s remarks below and click here to watch the full video.
Transcript: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Joins EPA to Designate Lower Neponset River as Superfund Site
March 14, 2022
Thank you, Administrator Cash. And, you know, I thought it’s so appropriate that you had us all be still. That you had us be still for a moment.
Several months ago, I had the honor for the first time of organizing with indigenous leaders who often refer to themselves as water protectors. And it was just so reenforcing and an important reminder. You know, this is restorative. It’s healing. It’s beautiful. It’s spiritual. And so, what an incredible moment.
I’ve long time been a believer that the best collaborations are those which are community-driven and government-endorsed. And this project is so symbolic of that symbiotic partnership and relationship. And so, in the same way that apropos, Senator, that they persisted. You know something about that. She persisted. So, I do want to just give it up to Kathleen and Ian and Vivian and the many others that are here.
And I was speaking with Congressman Lynch. We were convening and I was talking about just what a long haul this has been, and, you know, how I hope in many ways that this, you know, renews and restores and fortifies people’s faith, you know, in government and in what is possible with persistence and collaboration. And we were naming all the elected who had been a part of this before, and so I do just want to take a moment, and I had said to her earlier that this was a part of her legacy. and I want to acknowledge Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Representative Consalvo, Brandy Fluker Oakley, Congressman Lynch, and of course, Madam Mayor Michelle Wu. Thank you for your leadership, Mayor Wu and your commitment to a Green New Deal for Boston, and your pursuit of environmental justice for Boston residents.
Again, it feels good to be in the Seventh. I’m proud to join you all here today as the EPA announces that it will include the lower Neponset River in the Superfund National Priorities List. This action – this is the word du jour – will transform the river, improve the ecological health, and reduce the risk of health hazards for surrounding communities.
Today’s action by the EPA is the result of years of work by grassroots organizers and advocacy groups who fought for both our review and the removal of contamination from this river that runs through my district. No one should have to live, work, or go to school near a contaminated site and communities across the Massachusetts Seventh, and our country simply cannot afford to wait any longer for the protections that they deserve.
70% of our nation’s Superfund sites are within one mile of public housing, posing serious health and reproductive risks to Black, brown, and low-income communities primarily. Communities like Dorchester, Hyde Park and Mattapan that by no coincidence are home to many of our lowest income Black and brown siblings.
This is what we mean when we say environmental racism. And that is why I say that policy is my love language because if we can legislate hurt and harm and inequity, we can legislate health. We can legislate equity. We can legislate justice.
And again, none of these injustices happened overnight. They’re the result of generations of intentional policy violence and chronic disinvestment. We know that to combat decades of environmental racism, we must prioritize environmental justice, which is intrinsically linked to racial health and economic justice.
Now is the time, and I’m so glad this is our mayor to do that work, to advance bold policies and budgets that invest in our communities to undo decades of injustice and to affirm our fundamental right to drink clean water, to breathe clean air, and to live in clean and safe communities.
Policies like the Green New Deal, or the investments in the President’s Build Back Better agenda, which we have not given up on to be clear, and we are still fighting to deliver.
So, I am grateful for the opportunity to be here with all of you community leaders, with my partners in government at every level, to ensure that we continue to work on behalf of our most vulnerable and marginalized communities.
This is truly an incredible day in the neighborhood. So, thank you again to all of our partners.