Environmental justice belongs at the center of our state’s climate laws.
Yet, Governor Brown has been in closed-door negotiations with Big Oil to re-write California’s climate policy. AB 398 (E. Garcia) would be a huge step backward for environmental justice and climate policy. Legislators will be voting on the bill this week and we need your help to stop a bad climate deal from leaving behind polluted communities.
AB 398 includes a horrible give away to Big Oil that ties the hands of our local and state regulatory authorities, preventing the Air Resources Board from enacting critical regulations that cut greenhouse gases directly at the source. It undermines – instead of enables – our state’s ability to meet our 2030 targets under SB 32 and in essence overturns AB 197.
Suggested talking points:
Hello, my name is [Name] and my zip code is [#####].
Please don’t let Big Oil weaken California’s clean air and climate protections.
AB 398 is a huge step backward for climate policy and a disastrous give away to Big Oil.
Don’t leave our most polluted communities behind and give in to a bad climate deal.
AB 398 will undermine our climate leadership and ability to meet our climate goals.
I urge you to vote NO on AB 398!
Statements from CEJA and our members and partners:
“AB 398 is a big step backward for California’s climate leadership and environmental justice communities. At a time when all eyes are on California, we can’t set a standard for other states and countries for a climate policy that includes hand outs to the fossil fuel industry. We are deeply concerned about the role Big Oil has played in drafting this legislation behind closed doors. AB 398 ties the hands of the California Air Resources Board and likely makes it impossible for this agency to accomplish our mandate, which is to reduce greenhouse gases to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. As our largest sources of greenhouse gases in the state, limiting regulations on refineries will drive up prices on all cap and trade entities and increase pressure on other facilities and sources of pollution. It also weakens the legislative gains made by AB 197 by constraining the ability of the Air Resources Board to prioritize direct emission reductions. If California is to maintain our climate leadership, we need a program that helps us achieve our 2030 targets, not hinders that ability.
Amy Vanderwarker, Co-Director of California Environmental Justice Alliance
“Recognizing that the regulatory approach of the state was not working for our local communities, we worked directly with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to produce some of the most groundbreaking rules to date around refinery emissions. With AB 398, those rules are now at risk. Residents living near the Chevron Refinery in Richmond are upset that their ability to make decisions about our air quality is now being preempted by the state. Overall this is a missed opportunity by California to lead the world in an equitable approach to address the immediate health impacts of local pollutants that actually reduces the risk of climate catastrophe.”
Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
“Our communities take climate change seriously and expect bold and courageous action from our policy makers, yet this bill represents a failure to keep that promise. AB 398 gives unacceptable concessions to the oil industry, and impedes our ability to clean our air, improve our economy and to protect Californians, by ensuring that the most vulnerable are protected. As a member of the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, we’ve engaged hundreds of residents asking them what they wanted in a SB 32 Scoping Plan and this proposal reflects very little of what we heard from residents who deserve accountability and want to see AB 197 implemented. Making a deal for the sake of making a deal is not what climate leadership looks like. We hope that our representatives stand strong and reject this bad policy.”
Martha Arguello, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles
“AB 398 has been crafted behind closed doors without including the voice of environmental justice communities that face the impacts of climate change everyday. We call on legislators to oppose this bill and work with environmental justice communities to craft climate policy that truly leads the nation and doesn’t leave our most overburdened communities behind. AB 398 includes a suspension of a fire prevention fee, which would be paid from revenues from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which would severely undercut the amount of revenues which would be available to transform environmental justice communities. It also contains tax breaks for generation and distribution of electric power. We need strong mechanisms in place that address both local and state pollution, local air quality, and that truly reinvests in our environmental justice communities that for far too long have borne disproportionate impacts.”
Veronica Garibay, Co-Director of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability