Amended in Assembly April 7, 2015

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.


AB 1062, as amended, 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 includebegin delete the implementation,end deletebegin insert physical projects,end insert including planning, engineering,begin delete significant infrastructure improvements, and constructing, of physical projectsend deletebegin insert and construction, monitoring or filtering technology, and environmental assessmentsend insert 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 requirebegin insert the secretary to expend at least $5,000,000 per year for the grant program, upon appropriation by the Legislature, andend insert each board, department,begin delete office, or other entityend deletebegin insert or officeend insert within thebegin delete 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 programend deletebegin insert agency to allocate appropriated funds from special funds, settlements, and penalties to implement the grant programend insert.

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

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

P2    1


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



(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.

P3    1(B) A federally recognized tribal government.

2(2) For the purposes of this section, “nonprofit entity” means
3any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other
4organization that meets all of the following criteria:

5(A) Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service,
6charitable, or other similar purposes in the public interest.

7(B) Is not organized primarily for profit.

8(C) Uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand, or
9any combination thereof, its operations.

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

14(3) For the purposes of this section, “nonprofit entity”
15specifically excludes an organization that is a tax-exempt
16organization under Section 501(c)(4) of the federal Internal
17Revenue Code.

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

19(e) Grant recipients shall use the grant award to fund only the
20project described in the recipient’s application. Recipients shall
21not use the grant funding to shift moneys from existing or proposed
22projects to activities for which grant funding is prohibited under
23subdivision (g).

24(f) Grants shall be awarded on a competitive basis for projects
25that are based in communities with the most significant exposure
26to pollution. Grants shall be limited to any of the following
27purposes and no other:

28(1) Resolve environmental problems through distribution of

30(2) Identify improvements in communication and coordination
31among agencies and stakeholders in order to address the most
32significant exposure to pollution.

33(3) Expand the understanding of a community about the
34environmental issues that affect their community.

35(4) Develop guidance on the relative significance of various
36environmental risks.

37(5) Promote community involvement in the decisionmaking
38process that affects the environment of the community.

P4    1(6) Present environmental data for the purposes of enhancing
2community understanding of environmental information systems
3and environmental information.

4(7) begin deleteImplement, end deletebegin insertPhysical projects, end insertincluding planning,
5engineering,begin delete significant infrastructure improvements, and
6constructing, physical projectsend delete
begin insert and construction, monitoring or
7filtering technology, and environmental assessments end insert
that improve
8the environment or the environmental health of the community,
9or that address a specific environmental justice need in the

11(g) (1) The agency shall not award grants for, and grant funding
12shall not be used for, any of the following:

13(A) Other state grant programs.

14(B) Lobbying or advocacy activities relating to any federal,
15state, regional, or local legislative, quasi-legislative, adjudicatory,
16or quasi-judicial proceeding involving development or adoption
17of statutes, guidelines, rules, regulations, plans or any other
18governmental proposal, or involving decisions concerning siting,
19permitting, licensing, or any other governmental action.

20(C) Litigation, administrative challenges, enforcement action,
21or any type of adjudicatory proceeding.

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

23(E) Funding of a lawsuit against a business or a project owned
24by a business.

25(F) Matching state or federal funding.

26(G) Performance of any technical assessment for purposes of
27opposing or contradicting a technical assessment prepared by a
28public agency.

29(2) An organization’s use of funds from a grant awarded under
30this section to educate a community regarding an environmental
31justice issue or a governmental process does not preclude that
32organization from subsequent lobbying or advocacy concerning
33that same issue or governmental process, as long as the lobbying
34or advocacy is not funded by a grant awarded under this section.

35(h) The agency shall review, evaluate, and select grant recipients,
36and screen grant applications to ensure that they meet the
37requirements of this section.

38(i) The maximum amount of a grant provided pursuant to this
39section may not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

P5    1(j) For the purposes of this section, “environmental justice” has
2the same meaning as defined in Section 65040.12 of the
3Government Code.

4(k) The Secretary for Environmental Protectionbegin delete mayend deletebegin insert shallend insert
5 expend begin delete up to one million five hundred thousand dollars
6 ($1,500,000)end delete
begin insert not less than five million dollars ($5,000,000)end insert per
7year forbegin delete theend delete purposes of this sectionbegin insert, upon appropriation by the
8Legislatureend insert

9(l) begin deleteBoard, departments, and offices end deletebegin insertEach board, department, or
10office end insert
within the California Environmental Protection Agencybegin delete mayend delete
11begin insert shallend insert allocatebegin insert, but is not limited to, appropriatedend insert funds from special
12funds, settlements, and penalties to implement this program.

begin delete

13(m) (1) Each board, department, office, or other entity within
14the California Environmental Protection Agency shall expend an
15amount equal to not less than 1 percent of its annual operating
16budget for grants awarded pursuant to this section.

17(2) This subdivision does not apply to a certified local program
18agency, a local or regional air pollution control district, or a
19regional water quality control board.

end delete