Support for AB 1071

CCEJN sent the following letter to Governor Brown asking for support for AB 1071:

October 1, 2015

Honorable Edmund G. Brown
Governor, State of California
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento, California 95814

Re: Support AB 1071 (Atkins and E Garcia) Environmental Justice Supplemental Environmental Projects

Dear Governor Brown:
On behalf of Central California Environmental Justice Network, I am writing to request your support for AB 1071 (Atkins, Garcia). This bill represents benefits to communities that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution. AB 1071 will provide a mechanism to promote Supplemental Environmental Projects directly in environmental justice communities.

Environmental justice communities across California are impacted first and severely by violations to air, water, and hazardous waste regulations. Currently, there are very few ways to ensure that when a violation occurs, the community impacted can gain some environmental benefit in the aftermath. This measure allows the community to propose and receive funding for projects that can represent an environmental and health benefits to the population impacted.

AB 1071 was proposed with the intent of making supplemental environmental projects a common practice among the CalEPA jurisdictions that regularly enforce environmental laws. The bill allows for the agencies to draft their own policy in a way the best fits their specific enforcement practices, but underlines that the policy must:
• Require a nexus between the violation and proposed project
• Require each agency with enforcement authority in Cal EPA to create a SEP policy that specifically targets benefits for disadvantaged communities;
• Increase public engagement and transparency by requiring a public solicitation for potential SEP projects and publishing the list on an annual basis;
• Allow any SEP to be funded up to 50 percent of total penalty fines;
• Require policy to consider the relationship between the location of the violation and any proposed supplemental environmental project to ensure that communities most impacted by a violation benefit from the SEP.

Central California Environmental Justice Network is especially invested in this policy because of our work to engage community members throughout the compliance and enforcement processes of CalEPA BDO’s. In environmental justice communities, we have worked to establish an engaged constituency that can participate in informing regulatory agencies about potential violations to regulations. We have done so, by working to improve the environmental literacy of affected communities, and by providing a platform for open back and forth communication between community members and regulatory staff. Through these networks we have seen many violations get resolved at the agency level, but we have yet to see many of those resolutions trickle down to provide investments for the environmental health of the community. We firmly believe that this bill will aid that process.

Thank you,

Cesar Campos
Central California Environmental Justice Network
4270 N. Blackstone Ave #212
Fresno, CA 93726