Moving Forward Network convenes in Portland

“No one in the country is doing what you all are doing right now, and you’re doing it well.”

These words, from Matthew Tejada, former Air Alliance Houston Director and now Director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Environmental Justice, describe the work of the Moving Forward Network (MFN). Mr. Tejada paid this complement to the Moving Forward Network during our annual convening last month in Portland, OR.

What is it that makes the Moving Forward Network special? The Network’s mission is, “To transform the global trade system by supporting the organizing, advocacy, education and research efforts of partners around the United States toward improving public health, quality of life, environmental integrity, labor conditions and environmental justice.” It is a unique partnership of environmental and public health advocacy groups both local and national. In addition to the national groups Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the MFN is composed of local community organizations from port regions across the country. The regions represented include the Texas Gulf Coast, California, New York and New Jersey, Chicago, and Kansas City (Kansas City is one of the largest “inland” ports in the nation, with a massive infrastructure for transferring goods from trains to trucks).

After five years of work together, The MFN has developed a coordinated national strategy for its members to work together on priority issues. Right now, our priority is the Zero Campaign, which seeks to end diesel emissions from the goods movement industry. You may have seen our work on social media under the hashtag #ZeroEmissionsNow, or our nationwide petition asking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to achieve zero emissions. If you haven’t signed the petition, which has over 36,000 signatures, please do so now.

Recently, the Zero Campaign submitted a letter to each EPA Regional Administrator outlining our proposal to achieve zero emissions. YOu can read a summary of that proposal here.

The letter got the EPA talking, and that talk filtered all the up to Matthew Tejada, prompting his endorsement above. So, what did the Moving Forward Network do that no other coalition has done? First, as described above, we have built a broad and effective coalition, which can both produce sophisticated policy recommendations and back them with broad public support. Second, we’ve focused on a single ambitious yet possible goal: the elimination of diesel emissions from goods movement. Finally, and most important, we’ve identified a clear path for EPA to achieve our goal. Broadly speaking, we recommend that EPA adopt regulations to reduce freight-related emissions, use the environmental review process to encourage infrastructure projects that promote health, and assist and direct state and local governments to address freight related pollution. More detail on each of these recommendations can be found here.

So, the Moving Forward Network is ambitious in its goals. But we have established an unparalleled national network to achieve our goals. We have also presented a specific policy proposal that has caught the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency. All that’s left is for federal, state, and local regulators to work with communities to achieve our goal of Zero Emissions Now.