Environmental Equity

Greenlining’s Environmental Equity program (formerly known as Green Assets) has been in the forefront of a variety of efforts designed to strengthen the emerging green economy and ensure that its benefits reach all communities. Highlights of our past work include:

Defending AB 32 Against Dirty Oil Companies’ Proposition 23

California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, is a landmark in the effort to curb the impact of climate change and serves as the springboard for many of our efforts to bring green economy opportunities to underserved communities. This historic law has come under attack, and Greenlining has played a strong role in defending it. In 2010, Texas-based oil companies bankrolled Proposition 23, a ballot measure that would have effectively repealed the law. We played a major role in informing voters of color about the dangers of this proposal and worked extensively with the ethnic media to make sure communities of color heard the truth about this deceptively marketed measure. We won, and key to that victory was the turnout of educated voters of color. We will continue to defend AB 32 against polluters who do not want to be accountable to our communities.

Making Solar Accessible to Working Families

Solar power is the wave of the future. It replaces dirty fossil fuels with clean and virtually limitless power from the sun. Efforts to expand solar power will fall short, however, if they don’t reach communities of color and low-income Americans. When the California Public Utilities Commission established the California Solar Initiative, a $2.16 billion program to promote solar power, we pushed to make sure the program was designed so that low-income families, including residents of multi-unit buildings, could benefit. Our efforts helped bring about Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) and Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH), a $216 million incentive program to subsidize installation of home solar energy systems, bringing solar power to thousands of low-income Californians. Our 2010 report, The State of Solar examined both the tremendous potential of solar and the solar industry’s serious shortcomings, including a severe lack of diversity and a lack of commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Cleaning Up the Toxic Triangle

In 2010, Greenlining worked with a coalition of local advocates, community and faith-based groups known as the Toxic Triangle Coalition to co-sponsor a series of hearings focusing on both problems and solutions for heavily polluted neighborhoods of Oakland, Richmond, and Bayview-Hunter’s Point in San Francisco. These hearings were well-attended by state and local officials, decision-makers, environmental and community advocates.

Sacramento: Protecting a Working-Class Neighborhood from a Dangerous Project

During the summer of 2012, the Greenlining Institute worked alongside a Sacramento, California neighborhood association and its legal team to stop a threat to the community’s health and safety – setting important state precedent along the way.

In April 2007, Sacramento Natural Gas Storage (SNGS) first sought approval to store 8 billion cubic feet of natural gas beneath a densely-populated, working-class urban community in southeast Sacramento. The affected neighborhood, Avondale/Glen Elder, is a product of historic redlining – the illegal practice of denying services to communities of color.

Gas storage areas are not new, but these projects are typically confined to sparsely-populated areas to lessen the significant public health and safety risks. Yet SNGS sought to operate its facility directly beneath the homes of thousands of residents, a community park, and two local schools. In early 2010, an environmental impact report found “significant and unavoidable impacts” in three major areas: gas migration, groundwater contamination, and construction noise.

Local residents joined together to oppose the project, but they needed help. Because the project needed approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, Greenlining was well-positioned to help these residents protect their neighborhood – and after a lot of effort, we succeeded. Read the full story here.

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