22 March 2011

Environmental Justice Groups Win! California Air Resources Board Forced to Revisit Alternatives To Unjust Pollution Trading System

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - On March 17, 2011 a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the California Air Resources Board violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when it failed to properly consider alternatives to a "cap and trade" program in its plan to implement AB 32, the California Climate Solutions Act. Cap and trade is pollution trading that allows the worst polluters to continue or increase their pollution by buying "reductions." These polluters are disproportionately located in low income communities of color. Instead of reducing pollution and creating jobs in California, dirty facilities, like oil refineries, get to buy credits from often unverifiable projects in other states and countries.

"Allowing the most entrenched polluters to increase pollution violates our environmental rights and is not the way to stop poisoning our air and slow catastrophic climate change," said Bill Gallegos, CBE's Executive Director. “ARB was dogmatic in its focus on cap-and-trade even though it is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases, increases pollution in heavily polluted low-income communities and communities of color, and misses the opportunity to create jobs in California. Now the ARB has a chance to do it right and consider real alternatives to pollution trading. We continue to be willing to work with the ARB to make the whole plan work for everybody."

Environmental justice and air quality organizations have been fighting for years to get ARB to protect low-income communities of color in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, these groups filed suit to enforce their rights under AB32 and CEQA.

Full press release from California EJ groups is here

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