It’s no secret that California is a global leader in many areas: arts, culture, entertainment and economics. Equally important are California’s world-benchmark protections that safeguard our environment, air, water and people. In fact, our state’s policies often exceed what’s required under Federal law. Yet, even with these strong protections, our air is still heavily polluted. In fact, many of California’s cities top lists of places with dirty air.
A brief history lesson
You might be asking why California has stricter laws than the Federal government. The reason for this is three-fold. First, as noted earlier, California has huge environmental needs. If it weren’t for our policies, our environment would be significantly worse than it is now. Secondly, the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution preserves states’ regulatory powers. Lastly, California’s efforts to protect the environment predate Federal law, For example, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was created prior to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Similarly, California’s first boards and commissions to reduce smog were created in the 1940s. As a result, our laws regulating mobile air pollution are either not preempted by more recent Federal laws and regulations, or have received special Federal waivers since they are tougher than Federal standards.
Something wicked this way comes
Needless to say, California’s standards are in the Trump Administration’s and big polluters’ cross-hairs. Our environmental policies depend on an interwoven fabric of state and Federal laws. If the Trump Administration unravels part of this fabric, California’s will need to protect its ability to enact and enforce tough laws. This is why the Coalition for Clean Air, along with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and Los Angeles Waterkeeper are supporting SB 49 and the #PreserveCA legislative package. This package codifies currently existing Federal baseline environmental protections, allowing the state to continue enforcing or exceed those standards. This issue is so important, the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board recently endorsed the #PreserveCA legislative package.
Stand up for the environment!
So what can you do to support the #PreserveCA package? It’s simple: contact your State Assembly Member and State Senator by mail, phone, email and social media and ask them to support the #PreserveCA package: SB 49, SB 50 and SB 51. If you are unsure who your state legislators are, you can find them using this helpful tool. In particular, we believe it’s important the following Assembly Members’ constituents speak up:
- Autumn Burke(D-Inglewood, Hawthorn, El Segundo and Lawndale)
- Raul Bocanegra(D-Northeastern San Fernando Valley)
- Mike Gipson(D-Compton and Carson)
- Patrick O’Donnell(D-Long Beach, San Pedro and Catalina Island)
- Sebastian Ridley-Thomas(Leimert Park, Culver City and Westwood)
- Blanca Rubio(Azusa, Covina and West Covina)
- Jaqui Irwin(Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Camarillo, Port Hueneme and Oxnard)
Weathering the Storm
Even as the Federal Government rolls back environmental, health and other protections, California will continue to lead the fight for a better environment. However, we need the #PreserveCA package to protect the health, well-being and lives of Californians, as well as preserve California’s role as an international leader in environmental protection. The importance of your voice in this fight cannot be over-stressed. So please – take action today to protect our environment by supporting #PreserveCA!