California Environmental Justice Alliance

Building Healthy Communities from the Ground up

Advancing Energy Equity with SB 350

SB 350, “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015”, by Senators de León and Leno is an incredible opportunity to advance climate justice and energy equity in California by directly improving air quality and public health in our state’s most polluted communities. SB 350 will allow California to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and establish California as a leader on climate policy.

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SB 350 puts forward bold goals:

Increase Renewable Energy to 50% by 2030: Low-income communities and communities of color have borne the disproportionate burden of living next to dirty fossil fuel plants. SB 350 will power up communities with clean, renewable energy and will help us transition away from dirty fossil fuels by increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50%. Without a new standard like the RPS, we would be in danger of bringing in more dirty energy like natural gas into our state.

Double Energy Efficiency in Buildings by 2030: Low-income communities live in some of the oldest building stock, yet have the greatest potential to benefit from energy efficiency improvements. Energy efficient buildings would provide improved indoor air quality to low-income communities who tend to live in older buildings and save all Californians money over the long run.

SB 350 also has broad inclusion of local distributed generation to direct small-scale renewable energy into communities that need it the most and create local green jobs. The bill also prioritizes disadvantaged communities to benefit from the policy.

Specifically, SB 350 directs California to give preference to communities with high poverty and unemployment in developing renewable energy, prioritizes job training in disadvantaged communities, and mandates agencies to coordinate with environmental justice organizations.

These goals codify Governor Brown’s bold goals of getting California to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and increase our renewable energy. We are hopeful SB 350 will bring these benefits to disadvantaged communities in this critical moment to steer the path toward a more healthy, sustainable, and economically viable future.

Click here for the SB 350 Fact Sheet.

UPDATE: On June 3, 2015, SB 350 passed out off the Senate Floor with a vote of 24-14. Read our press release.

UPDATE: On July 13, 2015, SB 350 passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee with a vote of 6-2.

UPDATE: Governor Brown signed SB 350 into law! Read our press release here!