BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – Policy experts at The Greenlining Institute joined with other advocates in responding with cautious optimism to reports today that Gov. Brown’s budget will begin to repay cap-and-trade proceeds borrowed for the state general fund last year and will make substantial investments in clean, renewable energy and energy-saving projects in low-income communities.
“Based on what’s been reported, the governor is making critical investments in existing programs that will help disadvantaged communities cope with the worst impacts of the climate crisis while at the same time creating jobs and saving low-income consumers money,” said Vien Truong, Greenlining’s Environmental Equity program director. “This will bring real benefits to communities hit first and worst by pollution and climate change as well as the recession.”
“Governor Brown and his team are doing the right thing by investing greenhouse gas reduction funds in ways that will clean up our air and improve quality of life in our communities,” said Bill Magavern, policy director for Coalition for Clean Air. “We look forward to working with the governor and legislature throughout the budget process to make sure these programs give Californians clean, affordable transportation and energy choices.”
While advocates are generally pleased with what they’ve heard, they cautioned that much more needs to be done. “In particular,” Truong said, “we need to invest in transit operations funding. Money to help transit systems maintain and improve their service will directly help low-income Californians get to work and school without adding to air pollution and will help close the mobility gap in communities of color.”
“Boosting transit service in low-income communities will not only reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution from automobile use, it will connect millions of Californians to work and generate quality jobs for our growing green economy,” said Guillermo Mayer, president and CEO of Public Advocates Inc.
“It is encouraging that the governor agrees with the 83 percent of Californians polled who say that these revenues should be directed to communities hardest hit by last century’s carbon pollution generated by fossil fuel companies,” said Miya Yoshitani, executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “We ask that the governor and his staff fulfill their promise and pay back the remaining $400 million that was borrowed last year and use some of that funding to restore bus and rail services that were cut and catalyze solar investments in low-income, working class communities.”
THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute