Disadvantaged communities, including African-American enclaves, must be a central focus for any future legislation to upgrade the nation’s aged and deteriorating infrastructure, according to Gilbert G. Campbell III, co-founder and managing partner of Volt Energy, a minority-owned solar energy development firm based in Washington.
Mr. Campbell was among more than a dozen local leaders and representatives from national environmental organizations participating in a roundtable discussion on improving the nation’s infrastructure and cleaning up the environment. Most notably, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California attended the Oct. 5 event held at a Richmond riverfront restaurant and hosted by 4th District Congressman A. Donald McEachin.
Reps. McEachin and Pelosi led the conversation about the possibilities of future federal legislation and funding for infrastructure that Rep. McEachin said is in “dire need of modernization.”
“Updating our infrastructure — repairing failing roads, bridges and water systems, modernizing our buildings and electric grid and pivoting to clean energy sources like solar and wind — will make communities safer and healthier,” Rep. McEachin said.
Mr. Campbell and others urged that communities of color be a part of the solution.
“When we look at the communities that have been impacted the most with carbon emissions, it’s underserved communities,” Mr. Campbell said. “They’ve had the worst impacts of climate change. So when we’re talking about building new infrastructure, we have to make sure they’re at the forefront.”