Senator calls Indigenous communities ‘the center’ of a climate resilience

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker addresses Indian Country in a specific Climate Change policy #NativeVote20

Presidential candidate Cory Booker says Indian Country is a critical part of his $3 trillion climate and economic justice plan.

The New Jersey Democrat released details Thursday with specific programs for Indigenous communities.

Booker’s campaign said in a news release released to Indian Country Today that their plan “places tribes and Indigenous people at the center of transformational climate efforts.”

The plan calls for rescinding the approvals for the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines, reestablishing the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide skills and work experience for young people from Indigenous communities, and cleaning up abandoned coal and uranium mines, amongst others.

A day after taking the stage at CNN’s Climate Town Hall, Booker’s campaign highlighted that many “traditionally left behind” communities are already dealing with the impacts of climate change. To aid this, they say they will invest in $300 billion by 2030 in climate resilience and disaster relief.

The statement cites that one in eight Native Americans do not have access to reliable water and more than one quarter of the nation’s abandoned uranium mines are located within or near the Navajo Nation.

Booker’s plan also calls to honor and enforce government-to-government consultation with tribes and will “require free, prior, and informed consent from tribal nations for all future major energy projects on federal lands.”

They also say they plan to double the number of staff in all Environmental Protection Agency offices as a way to “defend” marginalized communities, citing that there are less than half of federal inspections conducted than in 2010.

Additionally, the Booker campaign says they will hold corporate integrators legally responsible for the harmful effects caused by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations which are places where over 1000 animal feeding units are confined for over 45 days a year.

Lastly, they say they will ensure every household in the U.S. has adequate plumbing and functional wastewater disposal systems, citing that there is a lack of access in communities of color.

In July, Booker made an appearance at the Meskwaki Powwow in Iowa where he addressed a crowded arena, saying it was an honor to see the “mighty traditions being honored” at the event.

In August, Booker was not present at the Frank LaMere Presidential Forum, citing a scheduling conflict but says he “welcomes any opportunity to speak out about how our country can do a better job affirming the rights and dignity of Native Americans …” 

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

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