BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

                              Senator Wieckowski, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 
          Bill No:            AB 1062
          |Author:    |Bonta                                                |
          |Version:   |4/7/2015               |Hearing      |7/1/2015        |
          |           |                       |Date:        |                |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:      |Yes             |
          |Consultant:|Rachel Machi Wagoner                                 |
          |           |                                                     |
          SUBJECT:  Environmental Justice Small Grant Program

          Existing law:  Establishes the California Environmental  
          Protection Agency (CalEPA) Environmental Justice Small Grant  
          Program to provide grants to eligible community groups that are  
          located in areas adversely affected by environmental pollution  
          and hazards and that are involved in work to address  
          environmental justice issues.  
          1) Grants are awarded on a competitive basis for projects that  
             are based in communities with the most significant exposure  
             to pollution.  They are limited to purposes of resolving  
             environmental problems through information, improving  
             coordination among public agencies and stakeholders,  
             expanding community understanding about environmental issues,  
             developing guidance on environmental risks, promoting  
             community involvement, and using data to enhance community  
             understanding and decision-making. 

          2) Grants cannot be used for other state grant programs,  
             lobbying or advocacy activities, litigation, funding of  
             lawsuits, or for opposing technical assessments prepared by a  
             public agency.

          3) The maximum amount of a grant shall not exceed $50,000, and  
             authorizes the Secretary for CalEPA to expend up to $1.5  


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             million per year for the program.

          4) Authorizes CalEPA to allocate funds from various special  
             funds, settlements, and penalties to implement this program.

          This bill:  

          1)Allows grants awarded under the Program to include physical  
            projects, including planning, engineering and construction,  
            monitoring or filtering technology, and environmental  
            assessments that improve the environment or the environmental  
            health of the community, or that address a specific  
            environmental justice need.

          2)Requires CalEPA to expend not less than $5 million per year  
            for environmental justice grants.  Requires each board,  
            department, or office within CalEPA to allocate appropriated  
            funds from special funds, settlements, and penalties to  
            implement this program. 

          1) CalEPA Environmental Justice Small Grants.  This grant  
             program was established in 2002.  Grants are available to  
             help eligible non-profit community groups/organizations and  
             federally recognized Tribal governments address environmental  
             justice issues in areas adversely affected by environmental  
             pollution and hazards.  In 2013, $249,175 was awarded through  
             Environmental Justice Small Grants projects.  A minimum of  
             $250,000 in grant funds was made available for the 2015/2016  
             grant cycle.  SB 861 (Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 35,  
             Statutes of 2014) increased the maximum grant from $20,000 to  
             $50,000 and authorized CalEPA to expend up to $1.5 million  
             annually for the program.  The stated goals of the program  

             a)    Improve access to safe and clean water;


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             b)    Reduce potential for exposure to pesticides and toxic  

             c)    Promote community capacity building and improve  
                communities' and tribes' understanding of the technical  
                and procedural aspects of environmental decision making;

             d)    Promote the development of community-based research  
                that protects and enhances public health and the  
                environment; and,

             e)    Address cumulative impact through collaboration between  
                community-based organizations and local government.

          2)Environmental Justice in California.  Environmental justice is  
            the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and  
            incomes with respect to the development, adoption,  
            implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws,  
            regulations, and policies.  

             According to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard  
            Assessment (OEHHA), approximately 8 million Californians (21%)  
            live in zip codes that are considered "highly impacted" by  
            environmental, public health, and socioeconomic stressors.   
            Nearly half of all Californians live within six miles of a  
            facility that is a significant greenhouse gas emitter (46%),  
            but they are disproportionately people of color (62%).   
            Throughout California, people of color face a 50% higher risk  
            of cancer from ambient concentrations of air pollutants listed  
            under the Clean Air Act.  These impacts are felt by all  
            Californians.  The Air Resources Board estimates that air  
            pollution exposure accounts for 19,000 premature deaths,  
            280,000 cases of asthma, and 1.9 million lost work days every  



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          3)Purpose of Bill.  According to the author, "AB 1062 will help  
            provide our most vulnerable communities of color with the  
            tools they need to fight against environmental health hazards  
            in their communities, greatly reducing their quality of life.   

          "AB 1062 will ensure EJ Small Grants will be continuously  
            funded.  It will require the Boards, Departments, and Agencies  
            to contribute to the grant program to ensure there is a  
            CalEPA-wide contribution.  

          "The bill will also add one additional grant objective to the  
            program:  implementation of physical projects that address  
            environmental justice issues, such as planning for open-space  
            in park-poor areas or installation of air filters to address  
            poor air quality."
          1) Should this be a discussion as part of the State Budget?   
             This bill requires CalEPA to expend no less than $5 million  
             annually through the Environmental Justice Small Grants  
             program from unspecified special funds, settlements and  
             penalties of the CalEPA boards, departments and offices.   
             Where is this $5 million coming from?  How is each board,  
             department and office expected to meet this mandate?  What  
             programs and other statutory mandates may go underfunded as a  
             result of an administrative reappropriation of funds?   
             Annually the budgets of CalEPA and each of these boards,  
             departments and offices are legislatively apportioned  
             according to funding and need to fulfill mandates through the  
             State Budget.  How does this bill interact with that process?  
              As the 2015-2016 Budget was just approved for the state, how  
             will this impact this budget and future year's budgets?  If  
             it is the will of the Legislature to take funding  
             appropriated for other programs, why is this done through the  

             This bill appears to imply that there is surplus funding  
             among the CalEPA boards, departments and offices that are not  
             currently being fully utilized or it implies that this grant  
             program is a better use.  It is unclear, without identifying  
             which funds and programs would specifically be impacted, how  
             this would impact other statutory mandates.  


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          2) Is this the appropriate source of funding?  As mentioned in  
             the previous comment, the special funds, settlements and  
             penalties of each of the CalEPA boards, departments and  
             offices go to statutory mandates such as regulation and  
             enforcement of the programs they are each responsible for -  
             would this bill take away from those mandated  
             responsibilities and if so would it be more appropriate to  
             identify a different source of funding or alternately create  
             a new source of funding for this priority?

            Related/Prior Legislation
            SB 535 (de León, Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012) requires  
            CalEPA to identify disadvantaged communities for investment  
            opportunities using the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.   
            Pursuant to this requirement, OEHHA has developed the  
            California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool  
            (CalEnviroScreen) that uses existing environmental, health,  
            and socioeconomic data to determine the extent to which  
            communities across the state are burdened by and vulnerable to  
            pollution.  OEHHA states that the results generated by  
            CalEnviroScreen are not intended to assign responsibility for  
            any issues identified.  The intent is to provide information  
            that enables the state to focus time, resources, and programs  
            on areas that are in the greatest need of assistance.  

            SB 89 (Escutia, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2000) requires CalEPA  
            to convene the Environmental Justice Working Group and develop  
            an agency-wide environmental justice strategy.  Follow-up  
            legislation, SB 828 (Alarcon, Chapter 765, Statutes of 2001),  
            established a timeline for these requirements and required  
            CalEPA to update its report to the Legislature every three  
            years.  In October of 2004, CalEPA released its Environmental  
            Justice Action Plan.  

           Asian Pacific Environmental Network
          California Environmental Justice Alliance 
          Alameda County Board of Supervisors
          Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance 
          California Catholic Conference of Bishops


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          California Coastal Protection Network
          California Equity Leaders Network
          California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) 
          Catholic Charities, Diocese of Stockton
          Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice 
          Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment
          Central Coast Alliance United for Sustainable Economy
          City Heights Community Development Corporation 
          Clean Water Action
          Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice 
          Coalition for Clean Air
          Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation
          Communities for a Better Environment 
          Community Water Center
          Environmental Action Committee of West Marin
          Environmental Health Coalition
          Environmental Justice Coalition for Water 
          Environmental Working Group
          Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES)  

          Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM) 
          Greater Pasadena Jews for Justice (GPJJ) 
          Inland Congregations United for Change 
          Leadership Counsel for Accountability and Justice 
          Los Angeles Waterkeeper
          National Parks Conservation Association
          Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 
          Pacific Isle Environmental Reserve (PIER) 
          Pacoima Beautiful
          People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights  
          People's CORE 
          Pesticide Action Network, North America
          Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles 
          Physicians for Social Responsibility-San Francisco Bay Area 
          Regional Asthma Management and Prevention
          San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council (SDICLC) 
          Sierra Club California 
          The City Project
          Trust for Public Land
          Valley Clean Air Now
          Warehouse Worker Resource Center


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          None received  

           ARGUMENTS IN  
SUPPORT:    According to supporters of AB 1062, "Across California, low-income  
          communities of color face a range of pollution burdens, from  
          poor air quality and related environmental health illnesses, to  
          contaminated drinking water to hazardous clean-up sites.  AB  
          1062 will provide much-needed, permanent source of funding for  
          community solutions to these challenges.  In doing so, it will  
          give CalEPA a dependable vehicle to provide direct benefits to  
          low-income communities and communities of color overburdened  
          with pollution."

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