Cory Booker makes "environmental justice" central to his White House bid

/ CBS News

Booker details health care & immigration plans

2020 Democratic hopeful Sen. Cory Booker introduced on Friday the specifics of what he calls his "environmental justice plan." Booker, who is campaigning in South Carolina, said in a statement that he would be taking "immediate steps" to strengthen the "power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

"The Trump administration has gutted the EPA, rolled back clean air and clean water protections, and allowed polluters to go unchecked, causing immense harm and suffering by vulnerable communities," Booker said in a statement.

Booker's plan calls for companies to pay for the pollution they cause, an increase in staffing at various departments of the EPA, doubling the fees on coal mine operators to fund the cleanup of abandoned mines, and "safeguarding the basic human right of safe drinking water" by better enforcing standards set forth in the Safe Drinking Water Act .

Booker's policy rollout came just days after he joined two other lawmakers in forming an Environmental Justice Caucus in the Senate. They said the caucus aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that have impacted low-income Americans and people of color.

Booker has pledged to make "environmental justice" one of the top issues of his campaign. It is an issue he has been promoting since his days as the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Earlier this year, Booker pledged his support for the Green New Deal, the ambitious plan that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions and invest in green energy.

Environmental policy has become a key issue on the campaign trail for Democrats, and Booker isn't unique in his support for the Green New Deal. Other high-profile 2020 Democratic contenders, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, have thrown their support behind it as well.

First published on April 26, 2019 / 8:14 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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