• SB 115 (Solis, Chapter 690, Statutes of 1999). Made California the first state in the nation to put environmental justice considerations into law. Defines environmental justice as the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Designates the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research as the coordinator for state government environmental justice programs. Provides the procedural framework for environmental justice in California and directs the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to conduct its programs, policies, and activities with consideration to environmental justice. Required CalEPA to develop a model mission statement on environmental justice, and directs CalEPA to ensure greater public participation in the development, adoption, and implementation of environmental regulations and policies.
  • SB 89 (Escutia, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2000). Called for a strategic path to advance environmental justice and required CalEPA to establish the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice to assist in developing a strategy for identifying and addressing gaps in existing programs, policies, or activities that may hinder the achievement of environmental justice in the state. Directed the Secretary of CalEPA to convene an advisory group of external stakeholders to assist the agency and the working group in developing the agency’s strategy.
  • SB 828 (Alarcon, Chapter 765, Statutes of 2001). Required each board, department, and office within CalEPA to review its programs, policies, and activities to identify and address gaps that may impede the achievement of environmental justice.
  • AB 2312 (Chu, Chapter 994, Statutes of 2002). Established CalEPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grant Program. The program requires CalEPA to award grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit entities and federally recognized tribal governments. Grants are awarded to community-based, grassroots nonprofit organizations that are located in areas adversely affected by environmental pollution and hazards and that are involved in work to address environmental justice issues. The maximum amount of a grant provided is $50,000.
  • SB 1542 (Escutia, Chapter 1003, Statutes of 2002). Required the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CalRecycle’s predecessor) to provide local jurisdictions and private businesses assistance with the consideration of environmental justice concerns when developing and revising countywide siting elements for solid waste disposal facilities.
  • AB 1497 (Montanez, Chapter 823, Statutes of 2003). Required that a local solid waste enforcement agency (LEA) hold a hearing and provide notice of that hearing when the operator of a solid waste facility applies to make a change to the design or operation of the facility. It also required that the enforcement agency consider environmental justice issues when preparing and distributing the notice to ensure that the notice is concise and understandable for limited English-speaking populations.
  • Executive Order B-10-11 (Brown, 2011). Established the position of Governor’s Tribal Advisor within the Office of the Governor. Requires that the Governor’s Tribal Advisor oversee and implement effective government-to-government consultation between the Administration and Tribes on policies that affect California tribal communities. Determined that it is the policy of the Administration that every state agency and department shall encourage communication and consultation with California Indian Tribes.
  • SB 535 (de León, Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012). Required CalEPA to identify disadvantaged communities based on geographic, socioeconomic, public health, and environmental hazard criteria. It requires that 25 percent of cap and trade auction proceeds obtained under AB 32 (Núñez, Chapter 488, Statutes of 2006), California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, be expended on projects that will benefit disadvantaged communities. At least 10 percent of the available carbon auction proceeds must be expended on projects located in disadvantaged communities.
  • AB 52 (Gatto, Chapter 532, Statutes of 2014). Amended the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to add tribal cultural resources to the categories of cultural resources that must be considered under the environmental review process when a project is proposed by a public agency. Requires the lead agency (the public agency that has the primary responsibility for approving a project that may have a significant impact upon the environment) to consult with a California Native American tribe that is traditionally and culturally affiliated with the geographic area of a proposed project, if requested by the tribe.
  • AB 1179 (Bocanegra, Chapter 589, Statutes of 2014). Authorized the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, when awarding grants pursuant to the tire recycling program, to award grants for public works projects to create parklets, greenways, or both, that use tire-derived products. It also required the department, if it awards those grants, to give priority for funding to those projects in disadvantaged communities.
  • SB 861 (Chapter 35, Statutes of 2014Increased the maximum amount of the Environmental Justice Small Grant from $20,000 to $50,000. The bill authorized the Secretary for CalEPA to expend up to $1.5 million per year for the above purposes. The bill authorized the boards, departements, and office within the agency to allocate funds from various special funds, settlements, and penalties to implement the program.
  • AB 1071 (Atkins, Chapter 585, Statutes of 2015). Requires each board, department, and office within CalEPA to establish a policy on supplemental environmental projects (SEP) that benefits environmental justice communities. The bill authorizes up to 50 percent of an enforcement action to be allocated for SEPs. Requires CalEPA to compile a list of SEPs developed by its boards, departments, and offices and post the list on its website.
  • AB 1550 (Gomez, Chapter 369, Statutes of 2016).  Modifies SB 535 (de Leon, Chapter 830, Statues of 2012) regarding Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds (GGRF) for disadvantaged communities (DAC). The bill requires: (1) A minimum of 25 percent of GGRF moneys to be allocated to projects located within and benefiting individuals living in DACs; (2) An additional minimum of 5 percent of GGRF allocated to projects that benefit low-income households, or to benefiting individuals living in low-income communities; (3) An additional minimum of 5 percent of GGRF allocated to projects that benefit low-income households that are within a 1/2 mile of DACs, or to projects benefiting individuals living in low-income communities that are within a 1/2 mile of DACs.
  • SB 1000 (Leyva, Chapter 587, Statutes of 2016). Requires cities and counties to adopt an environmental justice element or to integrate environmental justice goals, policies, and objectives into other elements of their general plans. A city or county must adopt or review the environmental justice element, or the environmental justice goals, policies, and objectives in other elements, upon the adoption or next revision of two or more elements concurrently on or after January 1, 2018.


  • Executive Order 12898 (Signed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton). The Executive Order directs federal agencies to identify and address the disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their actions on minority and low-income populations. The order also directs each agency to develop a strategy for implementing environmental justice.

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