Primary Results Boost Environmental Justice in CA

Environmental justice groups opposed Prop. 70, saying it would have made it more difficult to fund climate projects that mitigate pollution from power plants such as this one in the low-income community of Oxnard. Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe/Wikimedia Commons

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The election results are trending positively for environmental justice in California – with the likely defeat of Proposition 70 and the passage of Proposition 68.

Prop 70 would have required a two-thirds majority for the State Legislature to appropriate funds for climate change-related projects.

Lucas Zucker is policy director at the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), which successfully fought off a power plant proposed for Oxnard.

He says Prop 70 would have been an obstacle to climate projects that fight air pollution, which disproportionately plagues communities of color.

“We fought hard to stop this corporate attack on California’s climate action because for us the climate crisis is very real and very personal,” he states. “We’re campaigning against Prop 70 because these clean air programs are critical for us to provide benefits like public transit service in our community and we couldn’t let them be sabotaged by legislative gridlock.”

Proposition 68 is a bond measure that would raise $4.1 billion for increased outdoor recreation opportunities, water projects and land conservation, mostly in low-income areas.

Opponents maintain it would be unwise for California to take on more debt.

Zucker notes that Prop 68 would secure $200 million to help build wetlands around the Salton Sea in the Southern California desert.

“The Salton Sea is basically a ticking time bomb of pollution that will have a huge negative impact on farmworker communities in the Coachella Valley unless we’re able to resolve the issue, and this is a huge step in getting there,” he states.

The new wetlands are designed to cover the exposed lake bed and help protect the surrounding communities from harmful asthma-inducing dust.