The Environmental Justice Program advocates for poor and vulnerable communities at the local, regional, and state level. We want to see strong protections for Creation and our communities, while ensuring that the neighborhoods most impacted by pollution are the first to enjoy meaningful benefits of new policies and programs.
Disadvantaged Community Investments (Gomez). This bill raises the percentage of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds spent in disadvantaged communities, and directs a percentage of the GGRF to be spent for the benefit of low-income households. You can learn more about AB 1550 and other environmental justice bills from our partners at the California Environmental Justice Alliance and you can read our AB 1550 Letter of Support.
Transit Pass Program (Holden). This bill creates a Transit Pass Program within the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for public school students to receive free and reduced-cost transit passes. Transit passes are an efficient way to reduce greenhouse gases, rein in transportation costs for students and families, and help smooth the path to opportunity for millions of Californians. You can learn more about AB 2222 from TransForm or read our AB 2222 Letter of Support.
Active Transportation Program (Bloom). This measure would require 5% of Active Transportation Program funds be allocated for community master plans in disadvantaged communities, and 10% of ATP funds be allocated for non-infrastructure safety education and encouragement programs. Learn more about AB 2796 from the California Bike Coalition.
Adds Environmental Justice Element to General Plans (Leyva). This bill would ensure that local governments include an environmental justice element in General Plans when they are updates, which will promote a healthier community for all by mitigating existing adverse conditions and prohibiting new development from negatively impacting vulnerable populations. Having a General Plan with specific environmental justice policies will help position local governments to access state funding to support projects that can benefit local environmental justice communities. Learn more about SB 1000 from the California Environmental Justice Alliance.
Heavy duty trucks are cumulatively one of the largest sources of toxic diesel particulate and ozone- and PM Forming NOx in the San Joaquin Valley. SB 210 would mandate an inspection and maintenance (I&M) program for in-state heavy-duty vehicles to ensure compliance with clean truck rules. SB 210 would prohibit the operation of a heavy-duty vehicle on a public road if the vehicle were to have an illuminated malfunction indicator light displaying a specified engine symbol. Learn more from the CA Legislative Information website.
In response to Assembly Bill (AB) 617 (C. Garcia, Chapter 136, Statutes of 2017), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) established the Community Air Protection Program (CAPP or Program). The Program’s focus is to reduce exposure in communities most impacted by air pollution. CARB staff has already begun working closely with local air districts, community groups, community members, environmental organizations, and regulated industries to develop a new community-focused action framework for community protection. We welcome and encourage your participation in this effort. MORE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM CAN BE READ HERE.
Climate Pollution Reduction Beyond 2020 (Pavley). California’s 2006 climate law, AB 32 (see below), requires a reduction in greenhouse gas pollution to 1990 levels by 2020 and we are over halfway toward meeting this goal. SB 32 continues this success calls for reducing greenhouse gas pollution to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. This legislation is necessary to continue improving air quality, public health, and protecting poor communities from greenhouse gas pollution. You can read our SB 32 Backgrounder from Catholic Advocacy Day, as well as the California Interfaith Power and Light SB 32 Letter of Support, signed by Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire and Elvira Ramirez of Catholic Charities.
Transformative Climate Communities Program (Burke). This bill will help communities accelerate sustainability plans and help California meet its ambitious climate change goals through transformative climate investments that achieve multiple greenhouse gas, public health, and economic benefits. The investments will be focused on communities most impacted by pollution and vulnerable to climate change. Learn more about AB 2722 from the California Environmental Justice Alliance.
The Southern San Joaquin Valley is responsible for 75% of California’s oil and gas production. Oil sites release air toxins, such as benzene and formaldehyde, fine and ultra-fine particulate matter (PM), methane, and ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs). AB 345 would mandate all new oil and gas development or enhancement operations on state land to be located at least 2,500 feet from a residence, school, childcare facility, playground, hospital, or health clinic. Learn more from the CA Legislative Information website.
California Climate Investments: Because of AB 32 (see below), California is investing millions in local communities to fight climate change, with a special emphasis on the most disadvantaged communities. We are working to ensure that money flows to the most vulnerable neighborhoods to meet needs residents have identified and results in meaningful change. You can read the stories of real people benefitting from California’s Climate Investments at UpLiftCA.org, a project of our partners at the Greenlining Institute. You can also see what investments are being made in your community with TransForm’s Climate Benefits for California mapping tool.
Air Resources (Pavley & Atkins). This measure adds two seats to the California Air Resources Board. Both are to be representatives from environmental justice communities in California. Diane Takvorian is founder of the Environmental Health Coalition in San Diego, and Dean Florez is a former Senator from the San Joaquin Valley and advocate for clean air. He meets regularly with San Joaquin Valley environmental justice advocates. Read our AB 1288 Letter of Support.
Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs Program (Eggman). Also signed by Governor Brown in October, 2015, this bill allocates $100 million annually to a new program installing solar panels on multifamily affordable housing complexes. Tenants then have savings on their energy bills, easing some financial burden for low-income families and allowing everyone to benefit from the green economy. Read our AB 693 Letter of Support and “Ray of Hope for Solar Power” from the Stockton Record.
Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Nunez & Pavley). Passed in 2006, this legislation requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. We are over halfway toward meeting this goal through numerous state programs. Funds generated under this legislation by the state’s largest polluters are being successfully re-invested in local communities. Our partners at California Delivers have put together some great resources to help you understand the programs and benefits of AB 32, including specific factsheets on health, equity, and more.
Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (De Leon & Leno). This bill, signed into law by Governor Brown in October, 2015, calls for a doubling of energy efficiency in buildings and a 50% increase in renewable energy by 2030. This is a win for cleaner, healthier, more sustainable communities and the creation of new green economy jobs. Read the SB 350 Group Letter of Support and our own SB 350 Letter of Support.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (De Leon). Signed into law in 2012, this program directs money from the cap-and-trade program (part of AB 32) into California’s most disadvantaged communities. This was a big win for the most vulnerable neighborhoods as it ensures they benefit from the pollution fees collected by the state. The Coalition for Clean Air and others put together this helpful fact sheet on how money actually gets to neighborhoods under SB 535.
Sustainable Communities & Climate Protection Act of 2008 (Steinberg). Because much of California’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, this legislation called for an integrated approach to land use and transportation planning. If communities grow in a way that demands less driving, it will help improve air quality and a number of other co-benefits. You can learn more about SB 375 from our partners at ClimatePlan, and learn more about our local implementation of this program on our Community page.