Disadvantaged communities in California are specifically targeted for investment of proceeds from the State’s cap-and-trade program. CalEPA designated the top 25 percent of census tracts in CalEnviroSceen 3.0 as disadvantaged communities for the purpose of investing cap-and-trade proceeds in April 2017.
A working group made up of CalEPA and all its boards and departments was established in 2013 in order to continue and enhance existing efforts to environmental justice into compliance and enforcement strategies in areas disproportionately impacted using CalEnviroScreen.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) uses CalEnviroScreen to identify communities in California that are most burdened by pollution from multiple sources. This information allows DTSC to prioritize its enforcement, complaints, and groundwater investigations. More information on DTSC can be found here.
In 2015 and in collaboration with OEHHA, CalRecycle hosted three CalEnviroScreen trainings for CalRecycle staff, managers, executives, and Local Enforcement Agencies. The purpose of the training was to provide an overview of what information CalEnviroScreen provides and how to use it when working with and in communities. Additionally, CalRecycle uses CalEnviroScreen to identify disadvantaged communities funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
Several state entities outside of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) have used CalEnviroScreen in the implementation of different programs. Many of these programs are funded from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) and include benefits to disadvantaged communities identified using CalEnviroScreen.
GreenHouse Gas Reduction Fund Programs
CalEnviroScreen was designed to help CalEPA identify disadvantaged communities as required by Senate Bill 535 (De León, Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012). SB 535 calls for CalEPA to identify disadvantaged communities based on geographic, socioeconomic, public health and environmental hazard criteria. Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) put in place carbon auctions. [RW1] Assembly Bill 1532 (AB 1532, John A. Pérez, Chapter 807, Statutes of 2012) set up a fund from the money supplied by these auctions. SB 535 requires that the fund give at least 25 percent of the money to projects that will benefit disadvantaged communities. At least 10 percent of the funds from the auctions must be invested directly in these communities. The following programs make grants to projects that improve conditions in disadvantaged communities identified by CalEnviroScreen.
Sustainable Communities Planning Grants and Incentives Program
This grant program managed by the Strategic Growth Council funds plans that lead to major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions based on AB 32 and the Environmental Goals and Policy Report (EGPR) from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
Twenty-five percent of the program’s most recent funding was reserved for proposals that benefit environmental justice communities, which were defined as those communities that receive the top ten percent (10%) of statewide scores using published Version 1.1 of CalEnviroScreen.
Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities
The Strategic Growth Council’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program funds land use, housing, transportation, and land preservation projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Disadvantaged Communities for this program and across all GGRF investment categories are identified by the California Environmental Protection Agency using CalEnviroScreen.
Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation
The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) supports the protection and management of California’s agricultural lands with funds from the Greenhouse Grant Reduction Fund.
Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program
The Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program is a grant program administered by the California State Transportation Agency for public transit operators for capital improvements to join state and local transit systems, including those located in disadvantaged communities, and those that connect with the new high‐speed rail system.
Low Carbon Transit Operations Program
This CalTrans program supports new and expanded bus and rail services mainly in disadvantaged communities. The program should increase transit ridership and decrease GHG emissions from cars.
Weatherization Upgrades/Renewable Energy
California Department of Community Services and Development manages energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in low income housing within disadvantaged communities.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) offers grants for urban forests in disadvantaged communities and forest health projects that reduce wild fire risk. These projects will improve forest health and reduce fuel loads and fire damage.
Active Transportation Program (Caltrans)
The Active Transportation Program, created by Senate Bill 99 and Assembly Bill 101, combined several federal and state transportation programs to ensure that disadvantaged communities participate in the program. Areas with the highest 10% of CalEnviroScreen scores are eligible for funding as disadvantaged communities.
Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program
The California Public Utilities Commission’s Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program (GTSR) was created by SB 43 (Wolk, 2013). The GTSR program allows PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers to receive some or all of their electricity from solar generation.
100 MW of the solar electricity generated must be located in areas that are identified by CalEnviroScreen as being in the 20% most disadvantaged census tracts in each utility company’s territory.
Is your agency using CalEnviroScreen? If so, please contact us.