Leyva Bill Helps Small Businesses, Communities Apply for Green Funds

SB 263 Creates the Building Local Climate Leadership Program

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

SACRAMENTO – In response to growing needs by low income and disadvantaged communities seeking funds for climate mitigation and adaptation, Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) today introduced legislation that will help to continue California’s local leadership on climate and substantially improve the ability of local cities, non-profits and small businesses to compete for climate investment funds.

Sponsored by The Trust for Public Land, SB 263 will provide capacity-building support to small communities and businesses to develop projects, partnerships, leadership, resources, and applications to compete for state funding. 

California is home to some of the worst air quality in the nation, particularly communities in the Inland Empire that serve as a primary route for transporting goods from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to other parts of the nation.  Many of California’s most polluted areas are small disadvantaged communities—regions with higher rates of poverty and elevated incidences of asthma and cancer.  These smaller communities, non-profits and businesses oftentimes do not have the infrastructure, technical expertise or marketing capabilities to develop and pursue state financing options, leaving them at a clear disadvantage.

“SB 263 will help to connect small communities and businesses with critical funding to help lessen the negative impacts of poor air quality,” Senator Leyva said.  “There is currently no single place for these communities and groups to turn to for assistance, so I am pleased that SB 263 will help to increase use of these funds in disadvantaged areas across California.  This legislation will also help to lower the cost of doing business and decrease the burden on taxpayers as these small communities and businesses access available funds.  The Building Local Climate Leadership Program addresses a real gap between the resources currently available for small communities, non-profits and businesses and their ability to access them.”

Recently enacted legislation has prioritized investing in communities that are on the frontlines of poverty and pollution, but the state needs a longer term strategy.  California needs a strategy that will support local planning, capacity-building and application assistance to ensure that disadvantaged communities can compete for climate, transportation, water, and clean energy investments.  These investments should take full advantage of all possible economic, social, health and environmental benefits.

“We are proud to partner with Senator Leyva on SB 263,” said Mary Creasman, California Director of Government Affairs for The Trust for Public Land. “This legislation will ensure that no community gets left behind as California continues to lead on climate mitigation and adaptation.  The Building Local Climate Leadership Program will build on existing local efforts to make sure that the cycle of disinvestment in communities on the frontlines of poverty and pollution doesn’t continue. These communities have the most to gain from multi-benefit and integrated climate investments, and they deserve deep and long-lasting commitment from our state to prepare them to lead on climate action.”

SB 263 will be considered in Senate policy committee(s) this spring.