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An Open Letter To Assemblymember Garcia: Amend AB 617 So Our Families Can Breathe

July 12, 2017

The Honorable Cristina Garcia
Assemblymember
State Capitol, Room 2013
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: AB 617 — Oppose in Current Iteration

Dear Assemblymember Garcia:

We thank you for your efforts on behalf of environmental justice communities, and we know you are one of the strongest champions for the community in Sacramento; which makes it very difficult but necessary for us to take a position to oppose AB 617 unless amended.

While we acknowledge that AB 617 contains some laudable goals, on its totality the bill is an incomplete proposal to clean the air in our communities. It is our understanding AB 617 is being touted as one of the strongest pieces of legislation on air quality in years, but it does not feel that way for those of us that will be negatively impacted by this law.

After careful consideration and analysis of the air quality proposal, we do not believe this proposal advances the interests of those communities most impacted by the freight industry. Specifically, our concerns are:

  • Additional planning processes take time and effort and are often followed by more planning. Freight impacted communities are no strangers to planning processes. Many of them participated in the Goods Movement Emissions Reduction Plan, the Rail Yard Risk Reduction Planning process, and the South Coast Port Back Stop Planning Process.
  • Lack of data is not the problem. The air pollution problem from mobile sources has been over-studied and the data is ignored. Given the exhaustive planning efforts undertaken by communities as it relates to mobile sources, we know now that adopting an indirect source rule provides the state with a better chance of fighting air pollution from mobile sources.
  • Immediate action is necessary to protect public health. The air quality bill needs to provide immediate tools to address pollution from mobile sources as public health is at risk. More study of the problem from mobile sources is not necessary as the harms have been so clearly documented. People are getting sick and dying from harmful air pollution now, and we need relief now.

With your continued leadership on air quality issues, we believe the legislature can do more for our communities than the deal negotiated in AB 617 as part of cap and trade discussions.

For the reasons stated above, we oppose AB 617 until it has real solutions to address the air pollution crisis in our communities from mobile sources.

For more information please contact Taylor Thomas at tbthomas@eycej.org or Michele Hasson at Michele.H@CCAEJ.org.

Sincerely,


Erica Martinez
Earthjustice

Michele Hasson
Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

Taylor Thomas
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

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