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SB 32 - BROWNFIELDS CLEAN UP
Thanks to all who contacted Governor Davis -- and thank you, Governor Davis, for signing the bill.
ACTION NEEDED: Call, write, or fax Governor Davis and urge him to sign SB 32 by Senator Martha Escutia to establish a clear regulatory process for local governments to bring about the clean up of California's brownfields.
Please take action immediately. Phone: 916-445-2841 Fax: 916-445-4633 or 916-323-6889.
THE SITUATION: "Brownfields are once-thriving industrial and commercial properties that are now abandoned because of the fear of real or perceived contamination. Brownfields compound urban blight and poverty, while inviting crime, despair, and unhealthy environmental conditions into low-income neighborhoods. They take the form of abandoned factories, old gas stations/dry cleaners, and boarded up shopping centers that litter the inner cities and disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color." from the Greenlining Institute
SB 32 (Escutia) authorizes cities and counties to order the investigation and cleanup of small (less than five acres) "brownfield" parcels of idled property and to carry out the cleanup if owners and/or operators fail, or refuse, to do so.
The bill also provides certain immunity from liability for the city or county, which is crucial for making clean up and redevelopment a less risky undertaking. Requires the California Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program to develop and analyze the use of "screening numbers" for hazardous substances that can be used to indicate the degree of effort needed to remediate a contaminated property. This would allow quick clean up and redevelopment of properties that are currently perceived as being highly contaminated, but are actually relatively clean.
This bill is supported by almost 80 groups including PG&E and the Sierra Club! Most of these groups are affordable housing advocates like the Greater Sacramento Urban League, East Bay Habitat for Humanity and The Greenlining Institute (who sponsored the bill). This is because many brownfields are ideal sites for low income housing, but many of these groups are ill-equipped to clean up these properties and are unwilling to assume the risk.
Environmental groups have endorsed the measure after many hours of negotiations with the author. Groups like the California League of Conservation Voters are satisfied that public health and environmental protection have not been sacrificed for economic development.
Please take action immediately! The Governor has until October 14 to sign or veto bills, but he could act on this measure at any time.
LEAGUE POSITIONS: The League supports comprehensive measures to provide maximum protection to human health and the environment from the adverse effects of hazardous materials. The League also supports government policies that lead to an increase in the supply of safe, decent, adequate housing for all Californians including the removal of barriers which inhibit construction of low and moderate income housing. The League encourages the use of infill development for new housing.
POINTS TO MAKE:
Most of these are from the Greenlining Institute:
The Honorable Gray Davis
RE: SB 32 (Escutia) REQUEST SIGNATURE
Dear Governor Davis:
I urge you to sign SB 32 (Escutia), a bill that would establish a clear regulatory process for local governments to bring about the clean up of California's brownfields.
California's estimated 100,000 brownfields suffer from contaminants which pose public health risks and are a serious deterrent to redevelopment. These former industrial and commercial properties, which are left unused or abandoned, provide little tax revenue and their very presence lowers surrounding property values. And since most brownfields are located in urban, low-income and minority neighborhoods, redevelopment of these lands would help communities facing the greatest need of revitalization.
The California Land Environmental Restoration and Reuse Act would enable local governments to order land owners to determine if contamination exists and force owners of contaminated properties to clean up, or pay for the clean up of, these properties. This bill also establishes the intent that the CalEPA develop a set of "screening numbers" to determine the level of effort necessary to develop a specific property.
[If possible, insert a paragraph about the need for brownfield redevelopment in your community.]
I support measures that provide maximum protection to human health and the environment from the adverse effects of hazardous materials. I also support land use policies which encourage the development of sustainable communities.
Senator Escutia's tireless efforts have resulted in a well crafted bill that has gained support among over 70 diverse organizations. Please sign this important measure.