CalEnviroScreen in operation

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 22, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In June, the California Environmental Protection Agency, CalEPA, announced the formation of an interagency working group consisting of enforcement chiefs from each agency within CalEPA to focus on pollution and environmental compliance in proximity to disadvantaged communities. A tool was developed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to help CalEPA establish priority areas for coordinated compliance and enforcement efforts called CalEnviroScreen. It will be put to its first use in Fresno.

While initial meetings of the Environmental Justice Working Group have had little public participation or transparency, CalEPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez recently announced that they are concentrating on neighborhoods in the City of Fresno and stated, "Our hope would be to have a report on our activities for the first quarter of next year, so we can use that as a model for how we might (handle) environmental compliance projects in the future in other (environmental justice) areas of the state."

A CalEPA spokesman said that the EJ working group is conducting this effort "primarily through outreach to affected communities, providing them with training and assistance in complying with environmental laws. The group is also looking at opportunities to prioritize funding in these communities for projects that will reduce the burden of pollution."

CMTA and many other associations and agencies (including air pollution control officers) have expressed concerns about the lack of a scientific basis for CalEnviroScreen’s weighting of environmental factors. We have no problem with using this tool to identify disadvantaged communities for the purpose of providing grants, but do not believe it should be used for stricter permitting.

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