Building Healthy Communities from the Ground up

CEJA Responds to the California May Budget Revision

Governor Gavin Newsom released his May Budget Revision and, unfortunately, we didn’t receive the necessary environmental justice allocations CEJA wanted to see.  

Members of our diverse, grassroots environmental justice coalition came together to respond to the California Budget Revision. We hope the governor’s office listens to the concerns of our community members, and seriously considers our suggestions for the future. 

What CEJA Wanted in the California Budget Revise

CPUC Community Renewables and Storage – $400M for FY 2023-2026

“We are disappointed that there is no explicit mention of funding for community solar and storage in the Governor’s May Budget Revise. Community solar can play a critical role in the State’s equitable and just transition off of fossil fuels, while prioritizing access and benefits for frontline communities of color. The passage of AB 2316 last year set California up to enable the most equitable community solar and storage program in the nation. Despite this potential, the State has yet to commit funding this year to ensure equitable access and success. 

California is far behind at least 22 states in community solar development, when we should be leading. It is promising that community solar might be eligible for funding through the California Energy Commission’s Clean Energy Reliability Investment Plan (CERIP), such as through the scaling of demand-side clean energy resources as listed in the plan. That said, we hope to see a direct commitment of at least $400M to community solar and storage specifically in upcoming budget trailer bills. Without this investment, California risks losing the unprecedented opportunity to tap into and secure highly competitive federal funding from the federal Inflation Reduction Act, including $7 billion available explicitly for expanding solar access.”

  • Alexis Sutterman, Energy Equity Manager, California Environmental Justice Alliance

SGC Community Resilience Centers – $160M for FY 2023-24

“Community resilience centers are a critical resource for addressing urgent climate change-related disasters while also building long-term resilience. Communities across the state are experiencing the devastation of the climate crisis now, and it is imperative that California invest in resources now. We urge the state to maintain the full $160M originally committed for the community resilience center program from the General Fund and augment this allocation through the climate bond. We fear that investment deferred means resilience denied for far too many Californians. “ 

  • Olivia Seideman, Climate Policy Coordinator at Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability 

SGC Transformative Climate Communities – $420M for FY 2021-2024

“Environmental Justice communities living with the real day-to-day impacts of climate change will not see progress without the State maintaining funding for critical programs like Transformative Climate Communities (TCC). Without this funding to implement projects for affordable housing, transportation and building resilience upgrades, California’s most underinvested and over-polluted neighborhoods will continue to be left behind.”

  • Kyle Heiskala, Climate Justice Policy Advocate, Environmental Health Coalition 

CEC Equitable Building Decarbonization – $665M for FY 2023-2024 and $145M for FY 2024-26

“Decarbonizing homes is not only a climate solution, it also makes for healthier homes. By fully funding the CEC Equitable Building Decarbonization Program, Governor Newsom can help rectify decades of housing disinvestment in environmental justice communities. Restoring this program to the full amount will allow vulnerable communities to access cleaner, more affordable appliances and home upgrades to handle the increasing impacts of extreme heat and cold in California. Environmental justice and public health organizations are disappointed to see crucial energy programs being cut or reduced. Communities that have suffered the social and financial impacts of disinvestment deserve proper funding to access healthy homes.”

  • Edgar Barraza, Energy Equity Policy Coordinator, Physicians for Social Responsibility- Los Angeles 

What CEJA Didn’t Want in the California Budget Revise

Funding for CCS and Dairy Digesters

“We are glad that the May Revise did not recommend new money for the false solution of factory farm gas production, otherwise known as dairy digesters. However, we are distressed that, while California is cutting funds for many vital climate programs, the May Revise does not recommend pulling back funds from the Dairy Digester program that have not gone out the door. California has many urgent climate needs. Every penny spent on the false solution of factory farm gas is a tremendous waste.”

  • Jamie Katz, Staff Attorney, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

Weakened CEQA Protections

“We find it deeply concerning that there is not a clear commitment to upholding CEQA protections for overburdened communities, especially in light of the stated commitment to expediting infrastructure projects. A clear commitment to both expediting infrastructure projects and preserving CEQA protections demonstrates a comprehensive approach that considers the needs of overburdened communities. Rather than viewing these goals as mutually exclusive, we can find innovative solutions that harmonize our climate and economic progress with environmental justice.”

  • Jonathan Pruitt, Green Zones Program Manager, California Environmental Justice Alliance