California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1062


Introduced by Assembly Member Bonta

February 26, 2015


An act to amend Section 71116 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental justice.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1062, as introduced, Bonta. Environmental Justice Small Grant Program.

Existing law establishes the Environmental Justice Small Grant Program under the jurisdiction of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and prescribes specific criteria and procedures for the implementation of the program. Existing law requires that grants be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that are based in communities with the most significant exposure to pollution, and limits grants to be used for specified purposes relating to, among other things, resolving environmental problems, promoting coordination among public agencies and stakeholders, developing guidance on environmental risks, and facilitating and encouraging community understanding and decisionmaking that affects the environment of a community.

This bill would additionally include the implementation, including planning, engineering, significant infrastructure improvements, and constructing, of physical projects that improve the environment or the environmental health of the community, or that address a specific environmental justice need, among the purposes for which a grant may be awarded.

Existing law provides that the maximum amount of a grant shall not exceed $50,000, and authorizes the Secretary for Environmental Protection to expend up to $1,500,000 per year for the grant program.

This bill would require each board, department, office, or other entity within the agency, except as provided, to expend an amount equal to not less than 1% of its annual operating budget for the award of grants pursuant to the program.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

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SECTION 1.  

Section 71116 of the Public Resources Code is
2amended to read:

3

71116.  

(a) The Environmental Justice Small Grant Program
4is hereby established under the jurisdiction of the California
5Environmental Protection Agency. The California Environmental
6Protection Agency shall adopt regulations for the implementation
7of this section. These regulations shall include, but need not be
8limited to, all of the following:

9(1) Specific criteria and procedures for the implementation of
10the program.

11(2) A requirement that each grant recipient submit a written
12report to the agency documenting its expenditures of the grant
13funds and the results of the funded project.

14(3) Provisions promoting the equitable distribution of grant
15 funds in a variety of areas throughout the state, with the goal of
16making grants available to organizations that will attempt to
17address environmental justice issues.

18(b) The purpose of the program is to provide grants to eligible
19community groups, including, but not limited to, community-based,
20grassroots nonprofit organizations that are located in areas
21adversely affected by environmental pollution and hazards and
22that are involved in work to address environmental justice issues.

23(c) (1) Both of the following are eligible to receive moneys
24from the fund:

25(A) A nonprofit entity.

26(B) A federally recognized tribal government.

P3    1(2) For the purposes of this section, “nonprofit entity” means
2any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other
3organization that meets all of the following criteria:

4(A) Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service,
5charitable, or other similar purposes in the public interest.

6(B) Is not organized primarily for profit.

7(C) Uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand, or
8any combination thereof, its operations.

9(D) Is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the
10federal Internal Revenue Code, or is able to provide evidence to
11the agency that the state recognizes the organization as a nonprofit
12entity.

13(3) For the purposes of this section, “nonprofit entity”
14specifically excludes an organization that is a tax-exempt
15organization under Section 501(c)(4) of the federal Internal
16Revenue Code.

17(d) Individuals may not receive grant moneys from the fund.

18(e) Grant recipients shall use the grant award to fund only the
19project described in the recipient’s application. Recipients shall
20not use the grant funding to shift moneys from existing or proposed
21projects to activities for which grant funding is prohibited under
22subdivision (g).

23(f) Grants shall be awarded on a competitive basis for projects
24that are based in communities with the most significant exposure
25to pollution. Grants shall be limited to any of the following
26purposes and no other:

27(1) Resolve environmental problems through distribution of
28information.

29(2) Identify improvements in communication and coordination
30among agencies and stakeholders in order to address the most
31significant exposure to pollution.

32(3) Expand the understanding of a community about the
33environmental issues that affect their community.

34(4) Develop guidance on the relative significance of various
35environmental risks.

36(5) Promote community involvement in the decisionmaking
37process that affects the environment of the community.

38(6) Present environmental data for the purposes of enhancing
39community understanding of environmental information systems
40and environmental information.

begin insert

P4    1(7) Implement, including planning, engineering, significant
2infrastructure improvements, and constructing, physical projects
3that improve the environment or the environmental health of the
4community, or that address a specific environmental justice need
5in the community.

end insert

6(g) (1) The agency shall not award grants for, and grant funding
7shall not be used for, any of the following:

8(A) Other state grant programs.

9(B) Lobbying or advocacy activities relating to any federal,
10state, regional, or local legislative, quasi-legislative, adjudicatory,
11or quasi-judicial proceeding involving development or adoption
12of statutes, guidelines, rules, regulations, plans or any other
13governmental proposal, or involving decisions concerning siting,
14permitting, licensing, or any other governmental action.

15(C) Litigation, administrative challenges, enforcement action,
16or any type of adjudicatory proceeding.

17(D) Funding of a lawsuit against any governmental entity.

18(E) Funding of a lawsuit against a business or a project owned
19by a business.

20(F) Matching state or federal funding.

21(G) Performance of any technical assessment for purposes of
22opposing or contradicting a technical assessment prepared by a
23public agency.

24(2) An organization’s use of funds from a grant awarded under
25this section to educate a community regarding an environmental
26justice issue or a governmental process does not preclude that
27organization from subsequent lobbying or advocacy concerning
28that same issue or governmental process, as long as the lobbying
29or advocacy is not funded by a grant awarded under this section.

30(h) The agency shall review, evaluate, and select grant recipients,
31and screen grant applications to ensure that they meet the
32requirements of this section.

33(i) The maximum amount of a grant provided pursuant to this
34section may not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

35(j) For the purposes of this section, “environmental justice” has
36the same meaning as defined in Section 65040.12 of the
37Government Code.

38(k) The Secretary for Environmental Protection may expend up
39to one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) per year
40for the purposes of this section.

P5    1(l) Board, departments, and offices within the California
2Environmental Protection Agency may allocate funds frombegin delete variousend delete
3 special funds, settlements, and penalties to implement this program.

begin insert

4(m) (1) Each board, department, office, or other entity within
5the California Environmental Protection Agency shall expend an
6amount equal to not less than 1 percent of its annual operating
7budget for grants awarded pursuant to this section.

end insert
begin insert

8(2) This subdivision does not apply to a certified local program
9agency, a local or regional air pollution control district, or a
10regional water quality control board.

end insert


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