California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) Commends Environmental Champions for Passage of Climate and Justice Laws by California Legislature

Press Release
September 1, 2016

Contact: Jenesse Miller, CLCV – 510.844.0235

California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) Commends Environmental Champions for Passage of Climate and Justice Laws by California Legislature

Sacramento, Calif. – CLCV applauds environmental, health, justice and clean energy business advocates along with champions in the California Legislature for passing nearly all of the highest priority climate bills for the environmental community in the final week of the 2015-2016 legislative session.

Priority bills on their way to Governor Jerry Brown include:

* SB 32 by Senator Fran Pavley follows up on California’s landmark AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

* AB 197 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia was co-joined with SB 32 and will increase equity, accountability and transparency by increasing legislative oversight of the California Air Resources Board.

* AB 1550 by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez will require the investment of funds from the state Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) to projects located within, and benefitting individuals living in, disadvantaged communities.

* SB 1000 by Senator Connie Leyva will require the development of an Environmental Justice element for future General Plans, ensuring that local governments proactively plan for and address environmental justice when developing their long-term goals, policies, and vision for land use and growth.

* AB 1066 (Gonzalez) will establish equitable overtime standards for farmworkers in line with other Californians.

The legislature also passed AB 1613, which provides for a one year spending plan for the GGRF by authorizing $900 million in expenditures from cap-and-trade auction revenue. Earlier in the year, the legislature passed and the governor signed emergency legislation (SB 380, Pavley) to strengthen emergency response to gas leaks and prevent future leaks, adding to the historic number and scope of policies to reduce harmful climate pollution during this legislative session.

“We applaud the leadership of all the bill authors along with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate pro Tem Kevin de Leon, and thank Governor Jerry Brown for his commitment to California’s successful climate solutions,” said CLCV CEO Sarah Rose. “California has shown the world that ensuring our most vulnerable communities share equally in the benefits of environmental policies is fundamental to California’s leadership on environmental progress, and makes us the model for the nation and the world on how to fight climate change.”

Despite millions of dollars of opposition spending by the oil industry, nearly all of the highest climate and environmental justice priorities passed their most difficult hurdle—the floor of the California Assembly—in the final week of the legislative session. One disappointing exception included SB 1387 (de Leon), which would have added environmental justice representation to the increasingly industry-friendly South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Priority bills now head to the governor’s desk; has publicly committed to signing AB 32 and AB 197. CLCV urges the governor to sign the rest of the important environmental bills on his desk.

“These policy successes were the result of a team effort, with a diverse coalition of environmental and equity organizations, public health leaders, labor groups, businesses, consumers, and faith leaders all working together to determine priorities and work to pass them,” said CLCV Political Director James Johnson. “California remains the nation’s leader in policies to improve public health, more equitably distribute benefits to communities of color, protect our natural resources, and strengthen our clean energy economy.”

These victories seemed all but impossible during the first week of August, when multiple media outlets reported that climate bills were at risk in the final weeks of the session. At the same time, the oil industry launched misleading websites and ads, distorted the facts, and threatened political and electoral retribution in an effort to convince lawmakers to vote "no” on climate and environmental justice policies.

CLCV staff worked with bill authors, legislative leadership, the governor’s office, legislative champions, on-the-fence lawmakers, and allies on the list of high priority bills. Staff hosted in-district meetings and town halls with key legislators, launched a targeted digital advertisement campaign in key districts to activate local community members, and generated tens of thousands of member emails and hundreds of calls to lawmakers in support of environmental bills.

“Outspent but with the will of Californians on our side, advocates for the environment, healthy communities, and our planet prevailed. The passage of these bills is a huge victory for the environment and for the public health, safety, and economic security of all Californians,” said Rose.

We believe that radical change is necessary and only by transforming our political system will we create the opportunity to take bold action on climate change. We elect and cultivate environmental champions, turn election victories into policy wins, hold our lawmakers accountable, and build political power for change. We inspire hope and action and fight for equity and justice for all Californians. We are in the business of changing what’s possible. Join us at www.ecovote.org and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See more press releases.

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