State Legislature Approves Assemblymember Robert Rivas’ Environmental Justice Legislation

Thursday, September 12, 2019

(SACRAMENTO) – The California State Legislature has passed two strong environmental justice bills, AB 1252 and AB 1628, authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). The two bills take important steps to assist and empower low-income and minority communities throughout California. The legislation, which enjoyed bi-partisan support, now heads to the Governor for consideration

“I’m proud to author legislation to protect the health of all people, especially our low-income and minority communities that too often bear a disproportionate share of harmful pollution,” said Rivas. “AB 1252 and AB 1628 will help ensure frontline communities receive vital resources and have a seat at the table on key decisions that impact their health and safety.”

“By allowing CalEPA to issue advance payments for the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, AB 1252 would make these grants more accessible to community based organizations working in disadvantaged communities and in turn, help build capacity in areas of the state that need these resources the most,” said Mariela Ruacho, Policy & Education Strategy Program Manager from California ReLeaf.

AB 1628 updates California’s definition of “environmental justice” to include the “meaningful involvement” of people of all races, cultures, incomes, and national origins with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies to ensure low-income and minority communities are substantially involved in the decision making process.

Chelsea Tu, Senior Attorney at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment stated, “The passage of AB 1628 shows the State’s commitment to not only bring polluted communities to the environmental decision-making table, but also that these communities’ recommendations will at least be meaningfully considered. I am hopeful that Governor Newsom will approve this new definition that will guide government decision-makers in taking action to achieve environmental justice.”

Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) represents the 30th Assembly District. This district includes the communities of Aromas, Big Sur, Chualar, Gilroy, Greenfield, Gonzales, Hollister, King City, Morgan Hill, Salinas, San Juan Bautista, Soledad, Spreckels, and Watsonville.

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