At Least $559 Million from Cap and Trade Will Boost Underserved Neighborhoods

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director: 415-846-7758 (cell)
Alvaro Sanchez, Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Program Manager: 562-522-6910 (cell)

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The revised state budget just released by Gov. Jerry Brown greatly increases critical funding to clean California’s air and bring jobs and opportunities to some of California’s most polluted and economically challenged communities, policy experts at The Greenlining Institute said today.

“This budget recognizes that the one-two punch of AB 32 and SB 535 is the key to solving pollution and poverty in our state and provides serious dollars to underserved communities,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Program Manager Alvaro Sanchez. “We’re grateful to the governor and to all the community advocates around California who have worked to make the promise of these laws a reality. This leaves no doubt that California leads the nation in using the fight against climate change to benefit underserved communities.”

Under AB 32, the law also called the Global Warming Solutions Act, money raised by charging polluters for carbon permits under the state’s cap-and-trade system must go to projects that further cut greenhouse gas emissions. A second law, SB 535, backed by a coalition of environmental justice advocates including Greenlining, requires that at least one quarter of these funds must go to projects benefiting highly polluted, economically disadvantaged communities, with at least ten percent going to projects located directly within these communities.

Areas receiving increased funding in the new budget include:

  • Lowincome energy programs. These include weatherization and solar energy for low-income households.
  • Urban forestry.  Planting, cultivating and maintaining trees and related vegetation in urban areas helps to sequester carbon, cool urban heat islands, and improve the quality of life in inner cities.
  • Charge Ahead Initiative equity programs. Funding will improve access to clean transportation in disadvantaged communities, including assistance in replacing old, highly polluting cars and trucks with low- or zero-emission vehicles and car/van sharing.
  • Affordable housing near public transit. This will help reduce air pollution by helping low-income families live affordably near work and school.
  • Low-carbon transportation. This includes clean freight transportation, which is critical to meeting the governor’s goals and to cleaning the air in low-income.

To highlight the benefits of California clean energy policies for communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, the Greenlining Institute created (English) and (Spanish).