BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1787


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          Date of Hearing:  April 6, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair


          AB  
          1787 (Gomez) - As Introduced February 4, 2016


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill requires the cross-media enforcement unit within the  
          California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to  
          prioritize the state's most disadvantaged communities.   
          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires the cross-media enforcement unit to prioritize the  
            state's most disadvantaged communities when exercising its  








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            authority.  


          2)Defines "state's most disadvantaged communities" as  
            communities identified by the California Communities  
            Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen) as the  
            disadvantaged communities most disproportionately burdened and  
            vulnerable to multiple sources of pollution.  


          FISCAL EFFECT


          No additional state costs.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  According to the author, it is critically important  
            for state regulators to make concerted efforts to enforce the  
            law against polluters who have, with impunity, been building  
            and operating facilities in disadvantaged, low-income, and  
            minority communities who lack the resources, support, and  
            capacity to demand swift corrective action.   


          2)Background. In 2013, CalEPA established an Environmental  
            Justice Compliance and Enforcement Working Group (working  
            group) to improve multi-media enforcement and environmental  
            justice efforts.   Cross or multi-media enforcement refers to  
            the coordinated regulation and enforcement of multiple sources  
            of pollution in the same area.


            The working group includes representatives from the CalEPA  
            boards, departments, and offices, as well as local agencies  
            that have enforcement authority.  









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            According to CalEPA, the primary objective of the working  
            group is to coordinate compliance assistance and enforcement  
            activities in the state's most disadvantaged communities,  
            where multiple sources of pollution exist and residents are  
            disproportionately vulnerable.  The working group's first  
            initiative was conducted in 2013 and 2014 in Fresno.  It  
            included community consultation, compliance assistance for  
            regulated entities, and coordinated, multi-agency compliance  
            sweeps.  The initiative overall resulted in 46 citations for  
            violations of air pollution regulations and 3 enforcement  
            actions relating to improper management of hazardous waste.   
            The working group is in the process of selecting the next  
            community for an initiative.    This bill codifies existing  
            activities and requires CalEPA to continue this effort going  
            forward.


          3)Environmental Justice.  Environmental Justice refers to 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 considered  to be "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.  ARB estimates that air pollution  
            exposure accounts for 19,000 premature deaths, 280,000 cases  








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            of asthma, and 1.9 million lost work days every year.   
            Additionally, enforcement of environmental laws tends to be  
            more rigorous in white and more affluent communities; whereas,  
            lower income communities and communities of color tend to  
            correlate with fewer inspections and enforcement actions.  


          4)Disadvantaged Communities. In 2012, SB 535 (De Leon), Chapter  
            830, required CalEPA to identify disadvantaged communities for  
            investment opportunities using AB 32 cap-and-trade revenues.    
            In response, OEHHA developed CalEnviroScreen to use 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 in the greatest need of  
            assistance.  



          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081