We believe that those who are most directly impacted need to have a seat at the table. Our members know their neighborhoods best and can define the best way to create a healthy, sustainable community. We work with local residents to identify the issue; define the most effective solutions; and develop and directly advocate for those policies.
We are currently working on the following policies to ensure that community voices are centered in policy development on the state, county, regional and state level.
A history of poor and discriminatory land use practices has put the majority of polluting industries in the backyards of the most disenfranchised local communities, right next to homes and schools. Consequently, low-income communities and communities of color are more likely to suffer from exposure to toxic chemicals, leading to higher rates of asthma, birth defects and cancers.
Equitable land use planning is now more likely to become a reality through SB 1000, “The Planning for Healthy Communities Act”, authored by Senator Connie Leyva and co-sponsored by the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) and the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) in 2016. Under SB 1000, cities and counties are required to adopt an Environmental Justice element, or integrate EJ-related policies, objectives, and goals throughout other elements of their General Plan. The bill also includes a process for communities to become meaningfully involved in the decision-making processes that govern land use planning in their neighborhoods.
Our partners at CEJA have developed an SB1000 Toolkit which you can download here.
Disadvantaged communities throughout California bear the brunt of pollution costs with their lives, lungs, and health for decades. Assemblymember Cristina Garcia authored Assembly Bill 617 to address the disproportionate impacts of air pollution in environmental justice communities. The measure requires local air districts to take specific actions to reduce air pollution and toxic air contaminants from commercial and industrial sources.
In 2018, the communities of San Bernardino and Muscoy were identified as one of the AB 617 environmental justice communities that would receive support from the South Coast Air Quality Management District on an emission reduction plan and air monitoring project. The primary purpose of these efforts are to engage residents and other stakeholders on how to design and implement a plan that truly prioritizes the needs of the community. CCAEJ alongside our members are participating in the Steering Committees for AB 617 to ensure that the emission reductions plan and air monitoring center their experiences and solutions.
Indirect Source Rule
In May 2018, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) directed staff to work on creating an Indirect Source Rule (ISR). Disadvantaged communities that have been plagued by indirect sources of pollution from warehouses and rail yards are now engaging with the SCAQMD in their rule making process to ensure that the regulation will strongly protect our health and air quality.
This was an incredible win for communities throughout the South Coast basin that had been advocating for years that industries needed to regulate their emissions. We are excited to continue pushing for zero-emission technology, clean energy, and access to clean air in our neighborhoods through the ISR.