Several state and local policies affect how California’s built environment is shaped, particularly where we place and how we regulate industry. Locally, each city as a General Plan that guides the city’s growth, shape, and future direction. In Los Angeles, the Department of City Planning maintains the General Plan, which is made up of eleven elements, on of which is a land-use element known as a Community Plan. In addition to determining residential and commercial spaces, this element dictates where the city chooses to site its industry. Some of these community plans, including the South and Southeast LA Community Plans, have not been updated for decades, resulting in incompatible land uses that may be causing adverse health outcomes.
The City of Los Angeles has acknowledged that LA contains a great deal of incompatible land uses that require separation in order to promote the health and well-being of its communities, and is committed to addressing this reality.
Environmental enforcement and regulation of existing industries are crucial to reducing pollution exposure. The Department of Toxic Substances Control is the primary state agency tasked with providing safety and protection to communities from polluting industries and toxic harm. However, it is evident from the many pollution-burdened communities across Los Angeles and California that the DTSC does not adequately reduce exposure to air, water and land pollution, especially in historically over-burdened communities of color. For advocates, a part of the strategy to reduce pollution includes improving environmental enforcement and regulation directly in agencies such as the DTSC and Cal EPA. This is accomplished primarily through legislative advocacy at the state level.
In addition to focusing on direct pollution reduction in communities such as South LA, PSR-LA is committed to securing investments for communities that will help alleviate pollution burden while building community assets. One of the main sources of funding recently made available to state agencies and advocates is the money collected from California’s cap and trade program. These funds are collected into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), which supports projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. PSR-LA is committed to ensuring that the use of these funds produces healthy outcomes and are invested equitably into communities.