BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1071


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          Date of Hearing:  April 27, 2015 


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES


                                 Das Williams, Chair


          AB 1071  
          (Atkins) - As Introduced February 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Supplemental environmental projects


          SUMMARY:  Requires each board, department, and office within the  
          California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to establish  
          a policy on supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) that  
          benefits environmental justice communities.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Defines "environmental justice" to mean 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.

          2)Defines "environmental justice community" as a community  
            identified by CalEPA based on geographic, socioeconomic,  
            public health, and environmental hazard criteria, including: 



             a)   Areas disproportionately affected by environmental  
               pollution and other hazards that can lead to negative  
               public health effects, exposure, or environmental  








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               degradation; and, 

             b)   Areas with concentrations of people that are of low  
               income, high unemployment, low levels of homeownership,  
               high rent burden, sensitive populations, or low levels of  
               educational attainment. 



          3)Requires CalEPA to:

             a)   Conduct its programs, policies, and activities and  
               enforce all health and environmental statutes within its  
               jurisdiction in a manner that ensures the fair treatment of  
               people of all races, cultures, and income levels, including  
               minority and low-income populations.

             b)   Convene a Working Group on Environmental Justice  
               (Working Group) comprised of the Secretary of CalEPA, the  
               Chairs of the Air Resources Board (ARB), the California  
               Integrated Waste Management Board (now CalRecycle), the  
               State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the Director  
               of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the  
               Director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR),  
               the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard  
               Assessment (OEHHA), and the Director of the Office of  
               Planning and Research (OPR).  Requires the Working Group to  
               examine existing data and studies on environmental justice  
               and recommending policies for implementation by CalEPA;  
               recommend criteria to the Secretary of CalEPA for  
               identifying and addressing any gaps in existing programs,  
               policies, or activities that may impede the achievement of  
               environmental justice; and, hold public meetings to receive  
               and respond to public comments prior to the finalization of  
               the recommendations. 

             c)   Requires each board, department, and office within  
               CalEPA to review its programs, policies, and activities and  
               identify and address any gaps in its existing programs,  








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               policies, or activities that may impede the achievement of  
               environmental justice.

          4)Names OPR as the coordinating agency in state government for  
            environmental justice programs.



          THIS BILL:  


          1)Defines SEP as an environmentally beneficial project that a  
            person subject to an enforcement action voluntarily agrees to  
            undertake in settlement of the action and to offset some of a  
            civil penalty.  


          2)Requires ARB, CalRecycle, DTSC, DPR, and OEHHA to establish  
            policies on SEPs that benefit environmental justice  
            communities. The policies shall include all of the following:


             a)   A public process to solicit potential supplemental  
               environmental projects from environmental justice  
               communities.


             b)   Allow a SEP to comprise up to 50% of an enforcement  
               action brought by a CalEPA board, department, or office.


             c)   An annual list of SEPs that may be selected to settle an  
               enforcement action.


          3)Requires CalEPA to consolidate the list of SEPs and post the  
            list on its website.  










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          FISCAL EFFECT: Unknown


          COMMENTS:  


          1)Author's statement. 

               Many communities across California are located in areas  
               disproportionately subjected to multiple sources of  
               pollution.  As a result, these communities are more  
               vulnerable to and impacted by the harmful effects of  
               pollution than others.  These environmentally impacted  
               communities, also known as environmental justice  
               communities, need resources to appropriately address  
               environmental health impacts and to implement community led  
               solutions.  Unfortunately, there is no strong mechanism to  
               ensure communities disproportionally impacted receive any  
               improvements after environmental damage has occurred.   
               Furthermore, when an environmental violation occurs, there  
               is no mechanism to ensure that the communities who are  
               directly impacted by the violation are able to receive any  
               benefits.  

               One way that environmental justice communities might see  
               direct environmental or public health benefits in their  
               neighborhoods is through the creation of an Environmental  
               Justice Supplemental Environmental Projects policy?   

               AB 1071 will ensure that all CalEPA boards, departments,  
               and offices establish a SEP policy specifically for  
               environmental justice communities.  
               
          2)Environmental justice. 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  








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          facility that is a significant
            greenhouse gas emitter (46%), and 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. ARB estimates that air pollution  
          exposure accounts for 19,000
            premature deaths, 280,000 cases of asthma, and 1.9 million  
          lost work days every year.

            In 2000, legislation [SB 89 (Escutia), Chapter 728] required  
          CalEPA to convene the
            Environmental Justice Working Group and develop an agency-wide  
          environmental justice
            strategy. In 2001, follow up legislation [SB 828 (Alarcon),  
          Chapter 765] 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, but did not complete the  
            required updates for a decade.   

            SB 535 (DeLeon), Chapter 850, Statutes of 2012 requires the  
            Cap and Trade Proceeds Investment Plan to direct a minimum of  
            25% of the available moneys in the fund to projects that  
            provide benefits to identified disadvantaged communities; and,  
            a minimum of 10% of the available moneys in the fund to  
            projects located within identified disadvantaged communities.   
            SB 535 also required CalEPA to identify disadvantaged  
            communities (i.e., environmental justice communities).  In  
            order to accurately identify environmental justice  
            communities, OEHHA, on behalf of CalEPA, created the  
            California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool  
            (CalEnviroScreen).  CalEnviroScreen is a screening methodology  
            that can be used to help identify California communities that  
            are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of  
            pollution.  








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            In February of 2014, CalEPA issued an Environmental Justice  
            Program Update, which included four main areas for future  
            actions:  1) increase efforts to eliminate discrimination on  
            the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group  
            identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color,  
            genetic information, or disability in any program or activity  
            conducted or funded by the state; 2) develop guidance to  
            promote a sound legal framework for CalEPA to advance  
            environmental justice goals and objectives; 3) lead an  
            agency-wide working group dedicated to increase compliance  
            with environmental laws in communities with relatively higher  
            environmental burdens; and, 4) add additional indicators to  
            CalEnviroScreen.  

          3)Supplemental environmental projects.  SEPs are environmentally  
            beneficial projects that a violator agrees to undertake as  
            part of a settlement for an enforcement action, but which the  
            violator is not otherwise legally required to perform.  In  
            2003, CalEPA released guidelines for the use of SEPs for its  
            boards, departments, and offices.  The guidelines specify that  
            an SEP must improve, protect, or reduce risks to public health  
            and the environment at large.  The enforcing agency must have  
            the opportunity to help shape the scope of the project before  
            it is implemented and the project must not be commenced until  
            the enforcing agency has identified a violation.  Finally, the  
            SEP must not be required by a federal, state, or local law or  
            regulation.  CalEPA's SEP guidelines suggest limiting the SEP  
            to 25% of the total enforcement action.  

            Within CalEPA, ARB, DTSC, and SWRCB have adopted SEP policies.  
             ARB and DTSC's policies are consistent with CalEPA's  
            guidelines and allow SEPs up to 25% of the amount of the  
            enforcement action.  SWRCB, consistent with authority granted  
            by SB 1733 (Aanestad), Chapter 404, Statutes of 2006, allow  
            SEPs up to 50% of the amount of the penalty.  

            CalEPA's 2012 Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report  
            provides information on the use of SEPs in California.  For  








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            hazardous waste law violations, three cases totaling over  
            $33.9 million, of which $5.5 million was used for SEPs.  ARB  
            assessed just under $16.1 million in penalties, and $525,000  
            was used for SEPs. In the report, SWRCB provided aggregated  
            data for "backlogged violations," which showed total penalties  
            of over $25 million and $2.5 million for SEPs.  

            This bill would require CalRecycle, OEHHA, and DPR to adopt  
            SEP policies directed toward environmental justice communities  
            and specify that SEPs can account for up to 50% of an  
            enforcement action.  

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Asian Pacific Environmental Network 


          California Environmental Justice Alliance 


          California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)


          Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice


          Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment


          Central California Environmental Justice Network 


          City Heights Community Development Corporation 








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          Clean Water Action


          Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice


          Comite Civico Del Valle


          Communities for a Better Environment


          Community Water Center 


          Environmental Health Coalition 


          Environmental Justice Coalition for Water 


          Food Empowerment Project 


          Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice 


          Inland Congregations United for Change


          Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability


          Los Angeles Waterkeeper


          MAAC








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          People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights


          San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council


          San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement and Policy  
          Project 


          Sierra Club California 


          Warehouse Worker Resource Center




          









          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Elizabeth MacMillan / NAT. RES. / (916)  








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          319-2092