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Proposal Details

Proposal ID498
ProposalPLATFORM: Environmental Justice
PresenterPlatform Committee presenter, Green Party of California sponsor
Floor ManagerDavid Strand
Discussion07/18/2010 - 08/01/2010
Voting08/02/2010 - 08/08/2010
Presens Quorum31 0.6666
Consens Quorum71 0.6666 of Yes and No Votes


CONTACT: Gary Ruskin, 415-472-2859,

The Green Party of California submits this amendment to update the 2004 platform, and to express our Green values in the more graceful style of the 1996 and 2000 platforms. We eliminated antiquated facts and references, and made the language more clear, concise, and precise.

The 2004 section on environmental justice was relatively undeveloped. We wanted to express our Green vision more fully in a longer introduction that explicitly links environmental justice to the civil rights movement. We added planks on the importance of pollution prevention, the precautionary principle and the public trust doctrine.

The Green Party of California's delegation to the GPUS originally voted to approve this proposal in April 2010. In our state, we require 2/3rds for passage. Then, in the spirit of seeking consensus with Greens across the country, we attended 11 platform committee conference calls and read more than 500 suggestions posted on the GPUS Platform Committee website and created at the GPUS meeting in Detroit. Based on these ideas, as well as some of our own, our delegation edited our proposals by wiki and then voted again on these edits in July.


Substitute the following language as the new text for the "Environmental Justice" section in Chapter II of the GPUS platform.

Section title: Environmental Justice

Section subtitle: A safe environment for all.

Our position: Greens believe that no one -- including people of color and the poor -- should be poisoned nor subjected to harmful levels of toxic chemicals, and that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the pollution from industrial, governmental and commercial sources or policies.

Across the United States, the poor and people of color suffer disproportionately from environmental hazards in the workplace, at home, and in their communities. Inadequate environmental laws, lax enforcement, and weak penalties for environmental violations undermine environmental integrity, public health and civil rights.

Environmental justice is the crossroads of environmental activism and the civil rights movement. It is founded on two fundamental beliefs: that all people have the right to live, work, learn, and play in safe and healthful environments; and that people have the right to influence decisions that affect environmental quality in their communities.

Greens believe that government must ensure the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. To accomplish this, Greens unconditionally support implementation of the principle of environmental justice in our practices, policies and laws across the nation.

Green Solutions

1. Make 'pollution prevention' the preferred strategy for dealing with environmental justice issues, through eliminating environmental threats before they occur and considering cumulative environmental impacts when evaluating risk.

2. Uphold the precautionary principle, requiring polluters to bear the burden of proof in demonstrating the safety of their practices. Expand the application of the precautionary principle from chemicals and health to land use, waste, energy, food policy and local economic development.

3. Expand the public trust doctrine, which holds that government’s role is to protect the commons, to include the domains of public health and protection of the natural environment.

4. Promote programs, policies, and legislation that build the capacity to identify disproportionate or discriminatory sitings of polluting or toxic facilities. Assure nondiscriminatory compliance with all environmental, health and safety laws to guarantee equal protection.

5. Facilitate procedural justice, ensuring the public's right to know. Ensure rules and regulations are transparent to help communities employ their rights and participate in decision-making. Provide information in languages appropriate to the affected communities.

6. Enforce corrective justice, ensuring the rights of communities and local agencies to seek judicial redress. Communities and local agencies must not be required to show or prove “intent to discriminate" to achieve redress for problems of disproportionate and/or racist environmental impacts.

7. Target precautionary and corrective justice actions and resources in communities with the highest concentrations of environmental hazards and in communities lacking socioeconomic resources.

8. Support, enforce and strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act.


Time line: Compilation into new 2010 GPUS Platform upon completion of the voting on all proposed amendments.

Time and effort of volunteers to compile the platform


Visit the Platform Committee webpage for this proposal at:
On the webpage, you can see various formats of the proposal created by the GPUS Platform Committee and the amendment proposal sponsors including the 2004 and 2010 texts side-by-side. You can also read and respond to comments from Greens around the country, including many who are not on the Green National Committee.

Here is the 2004 Platform text which is being replaced:

Greens support a holistic approach to justice…recognizing that environmental justice, social justice and economic justice depend on and support each other.

Low-income citizens and minorities suffer disproportionately from environmental hazards in the workplace, at home, and in their communities. Inadequate laws, lax enforcement of existing environmental regulations, and weak penalties for infractions undermine environmental protection.

Therefore, the Green Party advocates:

1. Devoting greater efforts to full enforcement and prosecution of environmental crimes.

2. Funding environmental crime units for district attorneys in counties with significant pollution problems.

3. Imposing a moratorium on siting new toxic chemical or waste facilities in those counties with the highest percentage exposure to hazardous substances.

4. Not forcing workers to choose between a hazardous job or no job at all.

5. Preventing communities, especially low-income or minority communities, from being coerced by governmental agencies or corporations into siting hazardous materials, or accepting environmentally hazardous practices in order to create jobs. \

6. Preceding the siting of hazardous materials or practices with public hearings, conducted in the language of those community members who will be directly affected.


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