Community groups release 2014 environmental justice legislative agenda
Call for action on key environmental policies that impact communities of color
Tuesday, May 13th – Today, the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) released a list of 13 key environmental health and justice issues moving through the state legislature this year. CEJA is a statewide coalition of grassroots organizations working on environmental issues that impact working class communities and communities of color.
The 2014 Legislative Agenda includes a variety of measures related to climate change, clean energy, environmental health, and social equity. “Communities of color are California’s majority, and we care about the environment,” explained CEJA Co-Coordinator Strela Cervas. “When we released our first Environmental Justice Scorecard in February, we found a lot of room for improvement in the State Capitol. We want to see strong action from legislators on the critical environmental health and justice issues that we highlight in this session’s Legislative Agenda.”
Among the key issues the agenda highlights is the effort to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Madeline Stano, Attorney with Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, explains: “While the Monterey Shale stretches across California, fracking for oil is occurring largely with no protections near the homes and schools of only low-income and communities of color already overburdened by pollution. SB 1132 (Mitchell) ensures that our communities are protected from the rapid expansion of this new industry.”
Another high profile issue on the Legislative Agenda is the investment plan for the state’s new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. For the first time, California will see revenues through the implementation of AB 32, California’s climate change law. SB 535 (De León), signed in 2012, requires that at least 25 percent of the funds generated be invested in disadvantaged communities for programs like low-income weatherization, solar, bus passes and urban tree planting. “It’s important for the state to implement AB 32 equitably. In doing so, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide co-benefits to the most polluted communities,” says Mari Rose Taruc of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
“In 2013, there were a few very exciting measures introduced, such as Speaker Pérez’s Environmental Justice Act, AB 1330, which takes aim at the chronic corporate polluters in our communities, but few made it through the process. It is time for legislators to take a stand on environmental justice bills like AB 1330 and others on our 2014 agenda,” says Amy Vanderwarker, Co-Coordinator of CEJA.
Bills included in CEJA’s 2014 Legislative Agenda
- Support: AB 543 (Campos), CEQA translation
- Support: AB 1330 (Pérez), Environmental Justice Act
- Support: AB 1434 (Yamada), Low-income water rate assistance
- Support: AB 1634 (Skinner), Refineries: worker safety
- Support: SB 712 (Lara), Hazardous waste facility: permitting: interim status
- Support: SB 1204 (Lara and Pavley), California Clean Trucks and Bus Program
- Support: SB 1275 (De León), Charge Ahead California Initiative
- Support: SB 1300 (Hancock), Refinery turn-around
- Support: SB 1371 (Leno), Natural gas leakage abatement
- Support: SB 535 (De León) implementation in the budget, “Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund”
- Oppose: AB 2145 (Bradford), “Monopoly Protection Bill”