Leyva Environmental Justice Bill Signed Into Law

Posted on 26 Sep 2016 for representative Connie Leyva

SB 1000 Will Improve Health & Safety of Residents in Disadvantaged Communities SACRAMENTO – Following an outpouring of support from residents and community groups throughout California, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will require the development of an Environmental Justice (EJ) element for future local General Plans. State law currently requires cities and counties in California to develop comprehensive General Plans addressing seven mandated elements—land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise and safety—to the extent that the provisions are locally relevant. By including an EJ element or policies in General Plans, SB 1000 will help lessen the impact of pollution and other environmental contaminants on residents in disadvantaged communities. Throughout the 20th State Senate District and California, disadvantaged communities bear a disproportionate burden of pollution and environmental hazards. Inappropriate land use remains a leading cause of environmental inequities, from the lack of basic infrastructure in rural areas to the exposure of residential and other sensitive land uses to toxins from industrial facilities. Consequently, residents in these communities often suffer higher rates of asthma, birth defects and cancer. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, almost 7.4 million people—or roughly 20% of California’s population—live in areas that are burdened by high concentrations of pollution. Furthermore, nearly half of all Californians live within six miles of a polluting facility and children in poverty are even more likely to live near these facilities. “SB 1000 will ensure that local cities and counties specifically analyze potential environmental justice impacts on communities in California,” Senator Leyva said. “I thank Governor Brown for approving this important bill that will help to ensure that we protect vulnerable residents from pollution and other environmental hazards on the front end. Oftentimes, communities are forced to address environmental justice issues, such as air pollution or drinking water contamination, after the fact. SB 1000 will statutorily require that local communities proactively evaluate and address these potential impacts in their General Plans. The success of this landmark legislation is due, in large part, to the support and hard work by dozens of community, environmental, health, and public policy groups from across the state that were committed to seeing SB 1000 become law. That desire has now become a reality.” SB 1000 is co-sponsored by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) and the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) and will officially take effect on January 1, 2017.