Senate Committee Approves Leyva Environmental Justice Bill

SB 1000 Would Lessen Pollution Impacts on Disadvantaged Communities

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

SACRAMENTO – On a 5-2 vote, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee today passed legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that would require the development of an Environmental Justice (EJ) element for future General Plans.

Current state law requires California cities and counties to develop comprehensive General Plans that address seven mandated elements—land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise and safety—to the extent that those provisions are locally relevant.  By requiring the inclusion of an additional EJ element in General Plans, SB 1000 will help cities and counties to reduce pollution exposure, and promote better food access, healthier homes, improved air quality and physical activity in local communities.  Recently, the cities of Jurupa Valley and National City voluntarily adopted  EJ elements into their General Plans to ensure that local land use decisions do not pose environmental risks to disadvantaged populations and to promote policies that improve the health and well-being of their most vulnerable and at-risk populations. 

“SB 1000 would ensure that local cities and counties specifically analyze potential environmental justice impacts on communities in California,” Senator Leyva said. “I firmly believe that state and local leaders have a clear responsibility to do all they can to protect vulnerable residents from pollution and other environmental hazards.  I thank CCAEJ, CEJA and the dozens of other supporters for standing in strong support of SB 1000 and the residents in disadvantaged communities most affected by potentially serious environmental impacts.”

Throughout the 20th State Senate District and California, disadvantaged communities bear a disproportionate burden of pollution and environmental hazards.  Moreover, inappropriate land use remains a leading cause of environmental inequities, from the lack of basic infrastructure in rural areas to the exposure of residential and other sensitive land uses to toxins from industrial facilities. Consequently, residents in these communities often suffer higher rates of asthma, birth defects and cancer.

SB 1000 is co-sponsored by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) and the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) and next proceeds to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.