Building Healthy Communities from the Ground up

2016 Environmental Justice Legislative Agenda

The California Environmental Justice Alliance’s 2016 Environmental Justice Legislative Agenda features a diverse set of bills that will address climate, land use, budget investments, power plant siting, natural gas storage, water and transit issues that impact disadvantaged communities. From promoting equitable land use to innovative climate investments, the legislative agenda advances a range of programs to alleviate pollution across California.

We’re thrilled these bills passed committees with majority votes at the close of the first half of the legislative session. The bold steps taken by Senate and Assembly leadership on these bills demonstrate an increase in statewide support for environmental justice. In 2016, we hope to see equity at the center of our state budget tied to comprehensive investments for our communities who have historically been left behind.

2016 Environmental Justice Legislative Agenda

SUPPORT (CEJA PRIORITY): AB 197 (E. Garcia) – Climate Equity and Transparency Act

Initiates changes in terms and governance on the Air Resources Board, including setting six year terms for board members, and requires the Board to consider adopting measures that result in direct reductions from major stationary source polluters and from tailpipes, which account for almost 40% of all GHG emissions.

SUPPORT (CEJA PRIORITY): AB 2722 (Burke) – Transformative Climate Communities

The bill will create a comprehensive approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating a new Transformative Climate Community Plans program in disadvantaged communities that are most burdened by, and vulnerable to, high levels of pollution. This program will help cities, local jurisdictions, and communities accelerate sustainability plans and help California meet its ambitious climate change goals.

SUPPORT (CEJA PRIORITY): SB 32 (Pavley) – Greenhouse Gas Emissions Limits

Requires Air Resources Board to approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit that is equivalent to 40% below the 1990 level to be achieved by 2030. The bill would also require the Board to prepare and submit to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and appropriate policy committees a report relating to the greenhouse gas emissions reductions achieved toward those limits.

SUPPORT (CEJA PRIORITY): SB 1000 (Leyva) – EJ Element in General Plans

SB 1000 will improve local planning efforts to reduce disproportionate environmental and health impacts on California’s most vulnerable residents by ensuring that local governments include an EJ element in General Plans when they are updated. By creating a standalone element that addresses environmental justice, local planning policies will promote a healthier community for all by mitigating existing adverse conditions and prohibiting new development from adversely impacting vulnerable populations.

SUPPORT (CEJA PRIORITY): SB 1387 (De León) – Adds 3 EJ seats to SCAQMD Board

Adds three environmental justice seats/clean air seats to the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board, one each appointed by the Governor, Speaker and Senate Rules, and would strengthen and expedite the process for Air Resources Board to review and approve of the air quality plans and market-based incentive programs of all the air districts.

SUPPORT: AB 1550 (Gomez) – Investments in Disadvantaged Communities

This bill would require the investment plan to allocate a minimum of 25% of the available moneys in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to projects located within, and benefitting individuals living in, disadvantaged communities and a separate and additional unspecified percentage to projects that benefit low-income households, with a fair share of those moneys targeting households with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

SUPPORT: AB 1787 (Gomez) – Open Meetings, Public Comments Translation

This bill, if a local legislative body limits the time for public comment, would require the legislative body to provide at least twice the allotted time to a member of the public who utilizes a translator to ensure that non­-English speakers receive the same opportunity to directly address the legislative body, unless simultaneous translation equipment is used to allow the body to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously.

SUPPORT: AB 1937 (Gomez) – Power Plant Siting

The bill codifies an existing rule that, when authorizing new gas power plants, electrical companies must actively seek projects that are not in environmental justice communities. The bill also clarifies existing law requiring that, when electrical companies build renewable energy, they must actively seek projects that benefit environmental justice communities.

SUPPORT: AB 2222 (Holden) – Transit Pass Program

This bill would continuously appropriate $50,000,000 annually from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund for the Transit Pass Program, to provide free or reduced-fare transit passes to public school students and community college, California State University, and University of California meet certain requirements.

SUPPORT: AB 2616 (Burke): Adding 3 EJ Seats to the CA Coastal Commission

Would increase the membership of the California Coastal Commission to 18 and would require 3 additional members to be appointed, one each by the Governor, the Senate Committee on Rules, and the Speaker of the Assembly, who represent and work directly with disadvantaged communities.

SUPPORT: SB 1383 (Lara) Short Lived Climate Pollutants

Would require the State Air Resources Board, no later than January 1, 2018, to approve and begin implementing that comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants to achieve a reduction in methane by 40%, hydrofluorocarbon gases by 40%, and anthropogenic black carbon by 50% below 2013 levels by 2030, as specified.


Click here to download CEJA’s 2016 Environmental Justice Legislative Agenda

For more information, please contact Quentin Foster, (916) 557-1673 ext. 17