The California Environmental Justice Alliance’s Environmental Justice Legislative Agenda for 2019 features 16 bills that will address energy, climate, air quality, transportation, and drinking water and infrastructure improvements. From anti-displacement protections in energy efficiency programs to increasing zero emissions vehicles, these bills keep equity at the center of California’s environmental policies by bringing much needed benefits directly to disadvantaged communities.
2019 Environmental Justice Legislative Agenda
SUPPORT: SB 200 (Monning) Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund
Establishes the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, a reliable and ongoing funding source to ensure all Californians have access to safe, affordable drinking water. Without long-term funding support, water treatment and new clean water sources for small, rural and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged communities is cost-prohibitive.
SUPPORT: AB 1124 (Maienschein) Wildfire Protection
Requires the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to promptly adopt an emergency regulation to protect outdoor workers from wildfire smoke exposure. Wildfire smoke contains high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). When inhaled these fine particles can reduce lung and heart function, which causes coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
SUPPORT: AB 1232 (Gloria) Healthy Homes Act
Creates and expands anti-displacement protections for state energy efficiency programs serving low-income customers. The bill guides agencies in data collection to ensure enforceability and to better penetrate the unregulated affordable housing market. The bill would also increase coordination and collaboration between the Low Income Weatherization Program and public health programs addressing health issues in homes of vulnerable residents.
SUPPORT: AB 1357 (Quirk) Department of Toxic Substances Control
Increases agency accountability by requiring Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to hold at least 4 public meetings a year to present on recent and upcoming decisions or actions relating to permitted hazardous waste facilities, clean up sites, and enforcement. The bill would also require DTSC’s Director to run the meetings and to provide time for public testimony.
SUPPORT: AB 1628 (R. Rivas) Bureau of Environmental Justice
Supports the Attorney General’s Bureau of Environmental Justice in its efforts to protect vulnerable communities from environmental hazards and adds “meaningful engagement” to the definition of environmental justice to ensure all voices are heard.
SUPPORT: SB 160 (Jackson) Cultural Competence in Emergency Planning
Requires counties to engage communities when updating emergency plans to ensure that local disaster preparedness and response activities (i.e. alerts, communications, evacuations, and sheltering) are culturally competent and meet diverse needs. This bill prioritizes reaching culturally diverse communities including immigrant and refugees and low-income communities of color among other groups.
CLIMATE JUSTICE | AIR QUALITY
SUPPORT: AB 423 (Gloria) San Diego Air District
Restructures the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Board so that it better reflects the diversity of San Diego County residents. The Board would include representation from additional San Diego cities and public members, including an environmental justice representative.
DRINKING WATER | INFRASTRUCTURE
SUPPORT: AB 600 (Chu) Regional Planning
Ensures local governments provide basic water and wastewater services to disadvantaged communities in unincorporated areas by requiring that they develop plans, in collaboration with a Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). This bill would ensure that these communities get the improvements and upgrades they desperately need.
SUPPORT: AB 508 (Chu) Consolidation and Extension of Water Service
Improves the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) process for ordering mandatory extension of drinking water service to households reliant on domestic wells. It would also require the SWRCB to provide additional information about drinking water problems and potential solutions to renters, as well as prevent additional fees.
OPPOSE: SB 25 (Caballero) Restrictions to Public Participation and Judicial Review
Restricts public participation and expedites administrative and judicial review for projects that are funded by various public funds, including federal opportunity zone funds. By applying CEQA streamlining provisions to a broad scope of projects beyond just affordable housing, this bill would result in greater environmental degradation and harms for low-income residents and communities of color that already face disproportionately high pollution and socioeconomic burdens.
SUPPORT: SB 351 (Hurtado) Transformative Climate Communities
Expands the authority of the Strategic Growth Council to award neighborhood-level Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) implementation Grants to projects located in both incorporated and unincorporated communities. This bill would improve access to these grants by broadening eligibility to historically underinvested unincorporated areas where a significant percentage of the residents are low-income and people of color.
SUPPORT: AB 1578 (L. Rivas) School Pavement to Parks Grant Program
Establishes the School Pavement to Parks Grant Program for purposes of providing grants to applicant school districts maintaining schools in disadvantaged and low income communities to convert portions of existing asphalt or trees less playgrounds at schools into green spaces.This will allow park-poor and underserved communities to provide green spaces where kids and students can play outside and enjoy nature of heat island effect in urban underserved communities. This program will also help the state improve regional air quality, while reducing the impacts of heat island effects in underserved communities.
SUPPORT: SB 210 (Leyva) Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspections and Maintenance Program
Authorizes the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop and implement a comprehensive heavy-duty vehicle inspection and maintenance program, including fees and penalties for noncompliance to be deposited into the new Truck Emission Check Fund.
SUPPORT: AB 857 (Chiu) Public Banks
Will allow local governments to apply for a banking license from the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) to establish public banks. This important legislation will empower local governments in California with the ability to invest, lend and provide banking services to their local communities.
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