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Clean Transportation Accelerating Environmental Justice

February 6, 2023

Source: ACT News

With the new year, clean transportation stakeholders in California must consider the transformational year ahead, as sustained decarbonization efforts will only continue with Governor Newsom’s recent reelection. The governor signed a number of laws last fall aimed at curbing air pollution as part of his $54 billion California Climate Commitment to cut air pollution by 60% while creating four million new jobs over the next two decades.

The State’s efforts coupled with new technologies, an improved supply chain, and federal public policies like President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act should fuel yet another ambitious year for clean transportation progress. However, clean transportation stakeholders must align these new legislative developments with existing policy, such as Assembly Bill 617 (AB 617) which turns six years old this year.

AB 617 ensures disadvantaged communities benefit from federal, state, and local decarbonization policies and investments. The California Air Resources Board has identified 17 disadvantaged communities within the state. Each historically disenfranchised community works “with their local Air District in crafting community-specific plans to reduce both air pollution emissions and exposures using a variety of strategies based on incentives, enhanced enforcement and rulemaking.” These measures are critical in California since disadvantaged communities suffer from the worst from air quality in the nation.

The American Lung Association (ALA) reported in its 2022 “State of the Air” report that Californians are among the most impacted by poor air quality: the city of Fresno has the worst short-term particle pollution of any metropolitan area; the city of Bakersfield has the most polluted year-round particle pollution; and the city of Los Angeles is the city suffering from the worst ozone pollution in the country.

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