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Rep. Barragán (CA-44) is the new chair of the Hispanic Caucus’ Climate Task Force. Photo: Wikipedia
Rep. Barragán (CA-44) is the new chair of the Hispanic Caucus’ Climate Task Force. Photo: Wikipedia

Rep. Nanette Barragán leads the Hispanic Caucus Climate Change Task force: Why this matters

Rep. Barragán’s climate legislation efforts are often rooted in racial justice.

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May 27th, 2022

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U.S. Rep. Nanette Barragán is continuing her climate efforts in Congress as the new Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Climate Change Task Force. In the last year, Barragán introduced or co-sponsored a number of climate-focused bills, often rooted in racial equity. 

Latino representatives were among the most active climate advocates in 2020, as data continues to show that the crisis is and will continue to affect BIPOC demographics the most, whether it be via a refugee crisis or those already in vulnerable positions within the country. 

“Proud to lead the charge for climate action as Chair of the @Hispanic Caucus’s Climate Change Task Force. Look forward to working with my colleagues on policies to address environmental injustice, investments in clean energy & green jobs.” Rep. Barragán wrote on Twitter on March 18. 
 

Barragán has been fighting the climate crisis on a more local level. 

Legislatively, this is perhaps where the most action can be undertaken. Whereas more sweeping measures like the Green New Deal remain at a standstill, the multiple, targeted measures the Barragán has backed have more opportunity for movement. 

Her district (CA-44) is largely Latino, and has been long-affected by the averse effects of climate change and pollution because of already present stressors. 

Environmental racism has been intensified amid a pandemic that has affected Black and Latinx lives the most. In Barragán’s own district, the neighboring Port of Los Angeles and the surrounding freeways are a huge source of air pollution. 

In July 2020, Barragán introduced new legislation to invest in zero-emission technology at ports like her’s across the nation.

Later that year, she, along with several Democratic reps urged House leadership to support a green stimulus investment to be considered within the next COVID-19 relief and recovery package, though it wasn’t included in the final version of the bill. 

Regardless, it increased visibility on how these issues — health disparities, the climate crisis, and racism— are all intertwined. It’s too late for the climate crisis to be considered without all of its implications and intersectionality.

In January 2021, Barragan joined Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) in introducing the Energy Resilient Communities Act, a bill that would alleviate concerns for when natural disasters strike — to have a backup plan for widespread cases of lost power due to flooding or other severe weather events.

A bill like this would have made all the difference during Hurricane Sandy, or the most recent winter storm disaster in Texas. 

As chair of the CHC’s Climate Task force, Barragán has continued to fight against environmental racism, largely by collaborating with fellow reps across the nation.

Most recently, Barragán joined Rep. Raul Grijalva, chair of the Natural Resources Committee to support the Environmental Justice Now Act, which would also work to end environmental justice. 

“Communities like ours are too often left out of the conversation on clean air & water. They pay the price with their health, their children’s health & their lives,” Barragán wrote in support. 



 

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