URGENT ACTION–AIR QUALITY AT STAKE: Stop AB 617 Implementation defunding

Governor Newsom released the May revised budget last week and we are facing a complete de-funding for AB 617 implementation. We need your support to advocate for necessary funding for AB 617 implementation throughout environmental justice communities in California. Your voice can influence this decision and we need to act fast!

Thankfully there are numerous ways that you can help!

  1. Provide written comment or verbal testimony during the Budget Subcommittee THIS THURSDAY from 10am-1pm.

Click here to access the meeting agenda

Click here for access to the live stream

Here is how to provide testimony:

Written testimony, the event on the Assembly’s website for the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 3 states: 

“We encourage the public to provide written testimony before the hearing. Please send your written testimony to: BudgetSub3@asm.ca.gov. Please note that any emails sent to that address are considered public comment and may be read into the record or reprinted.”

 Be sure to clearly state that you are supporting AB 617 implementation! 

For constituents wishing to participate during the budget hearing’s public comment period:

At the beginning of the hearing (as well as the start of the public comment period) there will be a call-in number and passcode listed on the Assembly website, the agenda and on the livestream of the hearing.  By dialing into this number, it will place you in the queue to make public comment.  Once your queue number comes up (NOTE: the numbers are not always called in order), the operator will direct that caller how to activate their line.  Callers need to be sure to mute any background audio devices so there is not an echo/competing background noise. 

 You will not have a lot of time for public comment, so we recommend following this script:

My name is [YOUR NAME], I live in [CITY] and am here representing [ORGANIZATION OR GROUP]. I support funding AB 617 implementation because [BRIEF REASON].

 

Be sure to clearly state that you are supporting AB 617 implementation!

  1. Send a letter to the Governor. I have attached the Air District’s letter for reference and our key talking points are below. If possible, please submit the letter on letterhead by the end of this week. Next week may be – but the sooner the better as decisions could be made very soon.

To make it super easy for you, please send your letter to our legislative colleagues Alan Abbs aabbs@baaqmd.gov and Annie Hargrove ahargrove@baaqmd.gov and they will package them and send them to all of the relevant folks at the state capitol.

 

Here are Air District key talking points and rationale:

·         We are facing a complete de-funding of the AB 617 implementation after this coming fiscal year. We will not be able to make up the difference with local funds. That means we may have to significantly scope back the AB 617 implementation effort as soon as this July to stretch out what money we have now.

·         In the Bay Area, the zip codes most impacted by COVID-19 overlap with our high priority AB 617 communities. We also know that long term exposure to air pollution increases COVID-19 mortality. We understand that the State of California is having a terrible budget crisis, but funding community-led solutions to improve respiratory health should be a top priority.

·         Good News: AB 617 has been listed by the Governor as a high priority for Cap-and-Trade funds.

·         Bad News:

o    Mobile source incentives to reduce emissions are listed as a higher priority than community-led work.

o    With gasoline use down 50% and refineries cutting back and/or shutting down, there may be very little Cap-and-Trade money available.

o    So, there’s no guarantee that any money will be available for AB 617 implementation. We can’t hire staff or provide grants to work on this program if there’s no certainty that there will be money to pay for it.

Please contact Kristen Law (klaw@baaqmd.gov) or Azibuike Akaba (aakaba@baaqmd.gov) with any questions.

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