SACRAMENTO — The California State Legislature Tuesday approved more climate change regulation as they passed Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Cristina Garcia’s (D-Bell Gardens) air quality and carbon pollution bill package.
According to a press release from Garcia’s office, the two proposals, AB 398 (E Garcia, 2017) and AB 617 (E. Garcia, C. Garcia and Santiago, 2017) go hand-in-hand to affect the economic, health and environmental concerns as the state works to reach its 2030 climate targets and “improve the lives of all residents for generations to come.”
“These legislative proposals will accelerate California to a new step in our global climate leadership,” said Garcia in the press release. He is chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies.
“The passage of AB 398 and AB 617 builds upon the momentum set forth by last year’s landmark climate change polices; establishing a comprehensive, statewide program that will allow us to achieve our ambitious climate goals, while ensuring the market stability necessary to retain industry jobs and address vital public health and air quality issues,” he stated in the release.
“Importantly, these measures will guarantee additional legislative oversight, accountability and transparency for the implementation of greenhouse gas reduction funds.”
Co-author Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, chair of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee, also gave statements in the press release. “We passed these bills today for people like Maria who takes care of her five grandchildren in a one bedroom apartment in Bell Gardens but, is afraid to let the kids play outside in the poisoned air, and for Rocio who grows vegetables for her family in Commerce, but worries they could be toxic from the contaminated soil,” she said. “This package shows that we can take care of our global community while ensuring better air quality in our own backyards.”
Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia and Eduardo Garcia said they adamantly agree these proposals are contingent upon each other to further the vision of California’s climate priorities outlined in last year’s AB 197 (E. Garcia, 2016) which shifted the global warming dialogue from polar bears and melting ice caps to the severe public health consequences facing disadvantaged, environmentally vulnerable communities, like those in the districts they both represent, according to the release.
“My colleague from Bell Gardens and I applaud the combined leadership of Governor Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon as well as the hard work and dedicated efforts of countless other members and stakeholders who greatly contributed to the successful passage of these vital legislative initiative,” stated Eduardo Garcia in his release. “This air quality and carbon reduction package is reflective of a truly bipartisan, inclusive, collaborative process that ensures both economic relief and climate equity to disadvantaged areas, often low income communities of color that historically have been disproportionately impacted by pollution.”
“This package, though historic, is only a strong down-payment,” added Assemblywoman Garcia in the release. “We have much work ahead of us to address regions, like mine, that have been treated like wastelands for generations. Justice is never swift. Environmental justice won’t be either. California is at the tipping point of greatness and I have no intention of letting my home go backwards again.”
These measures now await a signature from Governor Brown, according to the release.