ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE FOR ALL OF DC
Climate change is a global environmental issue, but also an issue of justice and human rights here in D.C. The negative health effects of pollution are shouldered disproportionately by black and brown communities. Specifically, communities of color are at greater risk from elevated temperatures, economically more vulnerable to climate-driven public health issues, and at greater risk from energy and food price shocks.
As an At-Large Councilmember, Kenyan will build on the foundation of environmental laws he wrote and passed to identify additional policies and budget resources to hold polluters accountable and further equal access to clean air and water for all District residents.
According to the American Lung Association, DC’s childhood asthma rate is significantly higher than the national average. Asthma has a strong association with air pollution, and African Americans have a 36% higher asthma rate than their white counterparts. As an advocate for environmental justice, Kenyan established DC’s first ambient air quality and air pollution program. Through that program, residents can alert the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) about polluters that release harmful emissions and violators are assessed steep penalties. To further enhance air quality enforcement, Kenyan also successfully advocated for additional funding to hire more inspectors, which refer air quality violations to the Attorney General’s office. As an At-Large Councilmember, Kenyan will continue to prioritize air quality enforcement policies and ensure neighborhoods across the District have access to breathable, clean air.
Climate change is a global crisis and its effects are significant. As temperatures rise and weather patterns change, nations are grappling with efficient and effective ways to protect the climate. In DC, we will face much warmer average temperatures; up to 2-3 times as many dangerously hot days; long, hotter, and more frequent heat waves; more frequent and intense heavy rain events; and higher tides as a result of rising sea level. We cannot wait for Congress to take substantive steps and must act locally to slow climate change, particularly in reducing one of its primary contributors: energy use.
Kenyan shepherded into law one of the most aggressive clean energy standards in the nation through the CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Act of 2018. This legislation enhanced funding for low-income families to access renewable energy and energy efficiency resources and helped prepare locally owned and employed companies with tools to compete for clean energy contracts. As an At-Large Councilmember, Kenyan will continue to work with agencies and public bodies in the District’s efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions. Kenyan will do so by engaging climate-working groups and shaping future regulations that continue to make the District a leader in clean energy policy.
[Picture of Kenyan received the DCEN award]
Kenyan was awarded the D.C. Environmental Network’s Environmental Advocacy Award for his work on the “Community Renewables Energy Act” and the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Act.” These measures greatly benefit the District’s environment by increasing opportunities for solar energy and requiring the District to champion the use of renewable energy
For over 30 years, the privately-owned W Street Trash Transfer Station in Brentwood has plagued nearby communities with excessive exhaust from heavy vehicles, noxious smells, and rodent infestation. Kenyan’s legislation and determined advocacy led to the District being able to exercise eminent domain against the trash transfer station. This long-suffered environmental injustice will finally be shuttered permanently due to his tireless advocacy.