WASHINGTON - Environmental justice is the focus Thursday of a Senate committee led by Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz.

During a hearing of the Senate Democrats Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, lawmakers heard from activists living in neighborhoods they say are unfairly subjected to increased pollution. Often times, those areas are low-income and communities of color.

The testimony from activists is backed up a 2018 study from the University of Michigan, which found 56 percent of the population living in neighborhoods with toxic releases are people of color.That’s compared to just 30 percent elsewhere.

“As climate change intensifies, these communities face more powerful storms and floods; more intense heatwaves, more deadly wildfires, more extreme droughts and suffer other devastating effects of the climate crisis on top of the highest levels of toxic pollution found nationwide,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who chaired the hearing.

Schatz (D-Hawaii) chairs the Senate Democrats Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, which was founded earlier this year.

You can watch the hearing here.