VIDEO: Brandon Johnson is "Ready"!!

Environmental Justice

The Plan For

Environmental Justice

For decades, our city's leadership has failed to take into consideration the health of our people and environment. Thousands of lead service lines are makingit dangerous to drink our water. Industrial corridors have been down-zonedin wealthy communities while in black and brown communities homeshave been built nearby without consideration of the health impacts to nearbyresidents. Many of our public schools have fallen under unsafe conditionsthat are harming the learning experience for many kids. Communitiescannot access public transportation options to business hubs in thecity. The sad reality is that many of these communities are composed of peopleof color, creating literal sacrifice zones.

We need Chicago to lead the way in protecting thecommunities most affected by pollution, and take a strong stand to mitigateclimate disaster. As mayor, BrandonJohnson will make Chicago a leader in sustainability, and usher in a ChicagoGreen New Deal that transforms our city and makes a better futurepossible. On day one, he willorder a comprehensive study of this city’s environmental needs, with a focus onidentifying the hazards on the South and West sides. This study can be finishedin the first 100 days with the assistance of community groups and advocates.Then, new environmental regulations will be developed to reduce and mitigatethe pollutants that are fouling our water and air – and it won’t take centuriesfor a Johnson administration to put those regulations into action.

This is how Chicago will become a leader in environmentaljustice. We will:

Resurrect and Improve the Department of Environment

As mayor, Brandon Johnson will robustly invest in aDepartment of Environment with the expertise to forward policy solutions thatreduce pollution, increase equity and strengthen collaboration with communityand other city departments.

Support a Just Transition

Brandon Johnson will engage labor and community advocatesto transition frontline workers to high quality, green jobs.

Implement a Green New Deal for Air

Chicago needs to pass a Cumulative Impact AssessmentOrdinance to ensure that already overburdened communities are protected againstadditional polluting industries.

Implement a Green New Deal for Water

Chicagoans have the right to safe drinking water, nomatter their zip code. Under my Administration, we will fight for every federaldollar to rapidly replace the lead service lines in the city, as efficiently aspossible. We will also prioritize the improvement of stormwater infrastructure,an issue that will only be more pressing with the climate crisis.

Implement a Green New Deal for Housing

Our buildings in Chicago are a key source of greenhousegas emissions, and my administration will create better standards for newconstruction, and a just transition to clean energy for existing buildings.

Implement a Green New Deal for Education

Chicago’s students must both have educational settingsthat are environmentally sustainable, as well as have curriculum grounded inthe truth of the climate crisis. Students should have access to STEM educationthat sets them up well to get green jobs.

Implement a Green New Deal for Transportation

As mayor, I will make sure that our public transportationfocuses on reliability, accessibility, and electrification.

Win Utility Justice

Chicago residents must be protected against utilityshut-offs, and should be engaged in any franchise negotiations with ComEd.Under my administration, we will focus on decarbonization, and exploremunicipalization of electric power in Chicago.

Resurrect and Improve the Department of Environment

🔵 Appoint a strong commissioner

🔵 Staff the department with a broad range ofpolicy experts

🔵 Make sure the department iscommunity-accessible and grounded

🔵 Ensure interagency collaboration

🔵 Implement community impact assessments

🔵 Staff up inspectors to ensure enforcement

Support a Just Transition

🔵 Protect frontline workers and community members

🔵 Create a Just Transition Fund


Implement a Green New Deal for Air

🔵 Pass a Cumulative Impact Assessment Ordinance


Implement a Green New Deal for Water

🔵Implement a fast, equitable, and just replacement of leadservice lines

🔵 Improve stormwater management systems to prevent floodedstreets


Implement a Green New Deal for Housing

🔵Support a just transition for buildings to a clean energyfuture

🔵Work with diverse stakeholders to pass a Clean andHealthy Buildings Ordinance

Implement a Green New Deal for Education

🔵 Retrofit school buildings to be green schools, rooted inequity

🔵 Make sure CPS curriculum addresses climate justice

🔵 Focus on students developing core skills from STEM totechnical training that will power us through the clean energy transition


Green New Deal for Public Transportation

🔵 Create a comprehensive approach to electrification of theCTA

🔵 Prioritize interagency collaboration so city planningcenters transit accessibility and increases ridership


Utility Justice

🔵 Center community input in the ComEd franchise agreement,ensuring Chicagoans get the best deal possible

🔵 Protect low-income households from ComEd’s shutoffs

🔵 Explore municipalization of ComEd

🔵 Ensure our electrical supply is decarbonized by 2040


Resurrect and Improve the Department of Environment:

Chicago’sSustainability Office recently went through the process of updating thecity’s Climate Action Plan, but we need to put the resources in to makeany meaningful progress towards this plan. Toachieve (1) economic inclusion and savings, (2) reduced pollution burden, (3)equitable

access to critical infrastructure, and (4) communityhealth and resiliency, we need collaboration and accountability of many of thedepartments in City Hall, and collaboration with the state and federalgovernments.


As mayor, Brandon Johnson will commit to a Department ofthe Environment

that has:


- A strong influential commissioner with decision making andenforcement power, hired by committee of environmental stakeholders

- Policy issue area experts leading programs and policymaking – resiliency, waste/circular economies, economic planning, permittingand enforcement, water, community engagement, conservation, land reclamation/brownfielddevelopment

- A high-level position dedicated to ensuringenvironmental-related policies, legislation and planning processes areaccessible and resulting decisions are community driven

- Better interagency collaboration – key positions thatwork closely with CDPH, CDOT, DWM, Buildings, DPD and AIS. Holdinter-departmental hearings to more efficiently assess and implementsustainability strategies.

- A strong emphasis on community engagement in planningand permitting processes, including implementing a cumulative impact assessment.

- Adequate inspectors to make full use of municipal codeto issue meaningful citations of corporate polluters who prioritize profit overthe health and safety of residents.


Just Transition

A transition away from fossil fuels is inevitable, butjustice is not. That's why a Johnson administration will work with labor andenvironmental justice leaders to include Just Transition provisions to protectfrontline workers and community members who are impacted by the transition awayfrom environmentally hazardous infrastructure. We will make sure that we havethe structures in place to enact the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) thatwill create green jobs and improve the lives and environment for people inChicago.


Frontline workers and community members would receivedirect access, input, and jobs from planning to implementation. Programs suchas community benefits agreements, access to apprenticeship programs, and localhire provisions for building and maintaining the buildings and surrounding infrastructure.Work with the Department of Workforce Development to create a Just TransitionFund, to provide for a wage differential, apprenticeships, and equitable jobplacements.


A Green New Deal for Air

Many of the communities of the Southeast, South andSouthwest sides of the city have had to lead on fights to prevent or shut downair polluters from coming into their communities over the past several years.This work has highlighted a concern that shows communities overburdened by airpollution continue to face the brunt of it due to inadequate regulations.


A Brandon Johnson administration will consider whatpollution is already present before approving any permits. The administrationwill require a robust environmental impact assessment of any planneddevelopments by passing a strong Cumulative Impact Ordinance givingenvironmental justice communities a crucial level of protection against theinterests of business, and pumping the brakes on the permitting of additionalindustrial facilities to be allowed to operate in communities alreadyoverburdened by pollution.


A Green New Deal for Water for All

Clean water is a basic human right and necessity of lifethat all Chicago residents deserve. Brandon will work with the Department ofWater Management to implement a fast, equitable, and just replacement of thecity’s lead service lines to ensure that the supply of water furnished by thecity of Chicago to any household shall be safe and made available at anaffordable



Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR)


Chicagohas almost 400,000 lead service lines - more than any other city in the US.But so far, our city has only replaced a few hundred of those pipes,even though exposure to lead can inflict permanent damage on children’sbrains. At this rate, it will take four centuries to replace them all.


The recently passed Lead Service Line Replacement andNotification Act of 2021 mandates the city of Chicago to replace its leadservice lines in a 50-year timeline, but Chicago should be moving much quickerthan that. In fact, advocates nationally are advocating for updated revisionsto the federal Lead and Copper Rule to include a mandate of a 10-year timelinefor nationwide LSLR. However, this will only be possible through a robustinvestment from the federal government. With more federal dollars andintentional capital infrastructure planning, Chicago can reduce costs andaccelerate its timeline of LSLR by replacing lines along with water-mainreplacements, streetscapes, repairing roads, green stormwater infrastructuredevelopments etc., and exploring strategies other cities have utilized toexpedite LSLR like Newark, NJ and Flint, MI.


To date, Chicago has received $15 million in federalgrants to replace lead pipes, only a fraction of the estimated $10 billion toreplace all of Chicago’s 390,000 lead service lines. President Biden’sinfrastructure program has made billions of dollars available for cities likeChicago to begin lead-pipe replacement. What we need to do is to look for howwe can get the job done more efficiently and effectively, to stretch thedollars we do access as far as possible. Chicago is

projecting costs five times the national average forreplacing its lead pipes. Why aren’t we instead looking to what other cities,such as Denver and Detroit, have done to lower the per-unit costs ofreplacement? This includes such common-sense steps as replacing lead lines atthe same time that we’re digging up and replacing the connected water mains.


LSLR decisions should be informed by equity, publichealth, and environmental justice analyses. LSLR should be prioritized forcommunities facing cumulative lead exposure through various sources (e.g.,drinking water, flood water, paint, nearby industrial pollution in air or soil,etc.); homes with exposure to other environmental contaminants; existing publichealth disparities (e.g., high asthma rates, diabetes prevalence, etc); homesthat have had their water shut

off in the past; neighborhoods that have experienced highlevels of disinvestment in water infrastructure, and low-income households whoare the least able to shoulder the costs of LSLR. A Johnson administration willensure equity, efficiency, and protection of public health.



Stormwater Infrastructure

 To avoid the flooded streets and yards that are becomingincreasingly common after storms, Brandon Johnson will impose stricterrequirements on new construction to include stormwater management systems, andwork with commercial building owners to develop retrofitting plans to reducerunoff from buildings and parking lots. He also will invest in new stormwatermanagement systems to capture runoff and increase green-bedding programs.


Green New Deal for Housing

Currently, existing buildings produce 69% of our city’semissions. We must put Chicago on the path to a just transition to a cleanenergy future. The rollout should prioritize frontline environmental justicecommunities already dealing with poor outdoor and indoor air quality as well asneighborhoods where folks are struggling to pay utility bills/have a higherenergy burden. The implementation will include workforce training and localhiring provisions.


When we consider the impact of climate change on localcommunities, especially low and moderate income households and communities ofcolor, we must achieve our decarbonization goals by improving buildingresilience and indoor air quality, saving energy, lowering energy burdens, andcreating new jobs.



The Johnson administration will work with labor andenvironmental justice leaders to pass a Clean and Healthy Buildings Ordinancethat will focus on standards for new developments and a just transition forexisting buildings. We will ensure that contractors and laborers seeking to dowork towards the retrofits of the buildings have strong labor standards equalor exceeding those set by CEJA.


Green New Deal for Education

All CPS students learn not only the truth about theclimate crisis, but core skills from STEM to technical training that will powerus through the clean energy transition.

- Environment: Remove toxic materials, increase waterefficiency, enhance ventilation systems, ensure structural integrity, andupgrade to 100% renewable energy

- Education: Fully staff schools with teachers,counselors, and support staff while closing the opportunity gap in Black and Brownneighborhoods.

- Economy: Ensure that contractors and laborers seekingto do work towards the retrofits of the buildings are working toward stronglabor standards equal or exceeding those set by CEJA.

- Equity: Prioritize the lower ⅓ of schools in the CDC’sSocial Vulnerability index to get fully funded retrofits and improvements, anduse a tier

system to allow schools in the higher end of the scale toget additional

funding support for their retrofits

- Youth Green Corps Program: Funding for school gardens,STEM training

on green jobs, solar installation

- Climate Curriculum: Students are taught a comprehensiveclimate justice curriculum that helps them understand the facts, prepares themto fight the crisis, and create a better (stronger) future. Ensure there isfunding to implement education surrounding the history of Environmentaldisparities to help set precedent to create the change we need


Green New Deal for Public Transportation

My plan for Safe and Reliable Transit outlines my boldapproach to restore and improve the CTA. Additionally, we must reduce the city’scarbon footprint with a multi-layered approach to public transportation andplanning.

- Electrification: Leverage existing funds to continuedeveloping CTA’s electrification plan by 2040 which should be inclusive ofcharging infrastructure, grid infrastructure, and clean energy supply

- Accessibility: In order to increase ridership andaccessibility, there must be collaboration between the Department of Planning,Housing, and CDOT to ensure that equitable development of new homes &business ventures are coming to historically divested communities, which would increasethe ridership in communities located in the South & Southwest sides.


Utility Justice

In order to secure a green, prosperous future for allChicagoans, our energy system must serve the public and work in line with ourenvironmental and economic development priorities. To do this, we must:

- Center community input in the ComEd franchise agreement

- End ComEd’s shut-offs for low-income households behindon utility payments, establish robust and non-onerous assistance programs to reduceutility-burdened households to zero, and work with the Illinois CommerceCommission to establish a progressive residential rate

structure in Chicago.

- Explore municipalization of ComEd in order todecarbonize our city, end corporate corruption, ensure affordable energy forall Chicagoans, and preserve a pipeline of unionized jobs working on thefrontlines of our grid infrastructure.

- Ensure our electrical supply is decarbonized by 2040 orsooner and speed up other City and sister agency initiatives, like CTA buselectrification and building decarbonization.


It’s great that Chicago City Hall has a green roof, butthat commitment to environmental sustainability needs to filter down throughthe entire building. A better environment will mean a more livable city for all– which will mean a better economy and a place where generations of Chicagoanscan thrive.