CEJA is proud to release our 4th Environmental Justice Scorecard for the 2016 Legislative Session. This scorecard is the only one in the state to assess how well California’s elected officials supported actions to address environmental issues that impact low-income communities and communities of color.
Building on the growing success and support of environmental justice issues over the past several years, 2016 was a significant year for the environmental justice movement in California. 6 key environmental justice bills passed (SB 1000; AB 197; SB 32; AB 2722; AB 1550; AB 1937); with communities of color playing critical organizing and leadership roles from bill introduction through passage on issues ranging from climate justice to land use planning.
These bills will advance equitable land use, increase climate investments for EJ communities, set ambitious greenhouse gas emission goals, increase equity and transparency at California Air Resources Board, and increasing EJ considerations in power plant siting.
First Ever Environmental Justice Agency Assessment
With several successful years of environmental justice bills now passed into law, the ability of these policies to improve the health and quality of life in environmental justice communities now depends on implementation by state agencies. In recognition of this important role, for the first time ever CEJA has compiled an Environmental Justice Agency Assessment including CEJA’s EJ Principles for Policy Implementation.
Our EJ Agency Assessment, a companion to our EJ Scorecard, lays out our principles for inclusion of environmental justice in policy and program implementation. It also includes an analysis of the Department of Toxic Substances Control and California Public Utilities Commission, where we have worked extensively. In addition, it outlines critical issues at other important agencies that we are closely monitoring, the Air Resources Board and the Strategic Growth Council.
We hope this assessment continues the conversation about how regulatory agencies, which play such a powerful role in protecting low-income communities and communities of color, can improve their commitment to and inclusion of environmental justice within policy implementation.
CEJA will be closely monitoring new appointments to the California Public Utilities Commission and California Coastal Commission. We believe strong, new environmental justice leadership at agencies will be critical to ensuring policy victories in the legislature translate into on-the-ground changes in our most polluted and vulnerable communities.
Looking Ahead in 2017
In 2017, we are building on the victories of the past year to fight for more environmental and health improvements in our communities. Here are just a few of the things we are looking at during the 2017 Legislative session:
- A major push to ensure that environmental justice issues are incorporated into any carbon pricing policy to help ensure California can meet its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals;
- A package of bills to enact mush-needed reforms at the Department of Toxic Substances Control;
- A major push to ensure new funding sources for safe, clean, affordable drinking water for all Californians;
- A series of equity-related transportation measures aimed at ensuring transportation decision-making is diverse and that related funding is reaching EJ communities.
Our work is more important than ever in the face of a Trump presidency. Environmental justice communities are likely to be hit first and worst by rollbacks under the Trump administration — but they will also be at the forefront of the fight for environmental and climate justice. In this year, it will be important for all decision-makers to show that environmental protection goes hand-in-hand with the needs of low-income communities and communities of color.
Interested in hearing more from CEJA on the 2016 scorecard release and some of the key environmental justice issues for state policy in 2017?
To attend our legislative briefing in Sacramento, contact Diana Vazquez: firstname.lastname@example.org