SB 535, Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

Signed into law 9/30/2012 

The bill required CalEPA to identify disadvantaged communities for investment opportunities using money from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. 25 percent of the available money would go towards projects benefiting disadvantaged communities, with a minimum of 10% to projects located in disadvantaged communities. Directs CalEPA to consider identifying disadvantaged communities based on “geographic, socioeconomic, public health, and environmental hazard criteria, and may include, but are not limited to, either of the following: 

(a) Areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and other hazards that can lead to negative public health effects, exposure, or environmental degradation. 

(b) Areas with concentrations of people that are of low income, high unemployment, low levels of homeownership, high rent burden, sensitive populations, or low levels of educational attainment.” 

Since the passage of SB 535, CalEPA has used CalEnviroScreen to identify census tracts that fall within their parameters for a disadvantaged community. The most current Version 4.0 of the CalEnviroScreen includes data on dairies and feedlots to the Groundwater Threats indicator and an indicator of children’s lead risk from housing. In 2016, AB 1550 was passed, making changes to the allocation requirements established by SB 535. It requires that at least 5% of GHG Reduction Fund money goes towards projects within low-income communities or benefiting low-income households, another 5% of funds towards projects that benefit low-income communities that don’t fall within the CalEPA defined disadvantaged community but are within ½ mile of one, and increased the percent of funds for projects in disadvantaged communities from 10 to 25%.  

  • Action Agency(ies): CalEPA, Department of Finance
  • Policy Champions: Sponsored by Senator De Leon, Supporters included Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Coalition for Clean Air, Greenlining Institute, and Public Advocates
  • Read the full policy language

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