Campus Reform | Lawmakers propose tapping academics for $94 million ‘environmental justice committee’

Lawmakers propose tapping academics for $94 million ‘environmental justice committee’

Three members of Congress proposed a federal committee that would cooperate with academia in studying environmental justice.

The group would be armed with $94 million taxpayer dollars.

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Three members of Congress want to launch a federal committee that would cooperate with academia to study how race allegedly correlatess with the impacts of climate change.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) proposed the ‘‘Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act of 2021 to the 117th Congress. The bill would create a federal "Environmental Justice Mapping Committee.”

According to Markey, the group would “comprehensively identify the demographic factors, environmental burdens, socioeconomic conditions, and public health concerns that are related to environmental justice and collect high-quality data through community engagement and a government-wide interagency process.”

The legislation would provide the group with $94 million between 2021 and 2025. The bill would further ensure that at least 40 percent of climate change funds are directed toward minority communities.

[RELATED: Harvard profs fight climate change by bringing wooly mammoth back from extinction]

The Democratic lawmakers specifically provide for the recruitment of academics to help with the project. The bill text calls for collaboration with at least one “individual with expertise in cumulative impacts, geospatial data, and environmental justice, particularly such an individual from an academic or research institution.”

These professors would assist with the creation of a tool to assess and map impacts upon “environmental justice communities” — which the legislators define as minority and low-income groups that experience “higher or more adverse human health or environmental effects, as compared to other communities.”

“Systemic racism needs systemic solutions, and this legislation will take an important step in ridding of these historic injustices,” Markey said. 

Campus Reform has frequently covered cooperations between government officials and academia  — a process that often involves excessive use of taxpayer dollars.


[RELATED: Rand Paul's annual Festivus Report reveals how government forked over millions to universities for ridiculous studies]

For example, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) annual Festivus Report recently revealed that the National Institutes of Health gave researchers at Colorado State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Michigan more than $1.3 million to study whether consumers enjoy the taste of cricket powder. 

The researchers were particularly interested in whether the powder could eventually replace other forms of animal protein that release greenhouse gases.

Campus Reform reached out to the offices of Rep. Bush, Sen. Markey, and Sen. Duckworth for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft