Legislation to Protect Disadvantaged Communities from Unhealthy Development Passes First Committee

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sacramento –Yesterday, the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources passed AB 2447(Reyes - San Bernardino), a bill that ensures that residents of disadvantaged communities can provide input on expanded land uses in their neighborhoods that impact health and housing opportunity.  AB 2447 puts in place noticing and public outreach requirements for the development of non-residential projects likely to create negative environmental or health impacts in disadvantaged communities.

California’s disadvantaged communities are disproportionately impacted by polluting and noxious land uses. Impacts from these land uses often undermine neighborhood quality, public health outcomes, and a resident’s housing opportunities. In addition, those affected are also disproportionately people of color, low income, immigrants, and other classes protected by state civil rights laws.

“Vulnerable communities must be at the table on land use decisions that have the potential to increase pollution or cause harm to a community,” said Assemblymember Reyes.  “This bill will ensure that disadvantaged communities are given proper notice of projects that may have a negative impact on their environment and health.  The region I represent has seen a massive growth in warehouse projects that have been built near residential neighborhoods and schools with Environmental Impact Reports that revealed serious negative consequences for surrounding communities.”

Existing land use law does not require project proponents to specifically engage disadvantaged communities regarding a project’s potentially harmful water, air, land, and health impacts. Existing law also does not address the diversity of languages, access needs, and methods of inputs necessary for disadvantaged communities to provide meaningful input on a proposed project. 

Projects that proceed without adequate community input often do not take into consideration the needs of residents, and further undermine environmental quality and public health in neighborhoods already overburdened by environmental stresses.

AB 2447 will next be heard in the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxics. To learn more about the bill or to follow it online, click here.

 

Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes represents Assembly District 47 which includes the cities of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and the unincorporated areas of Muscoy and Bloomington.

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