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Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles is disappointed to see that the lies and misinformation of Big Oil continue to hold our air and lungs captive to the fossil fuel economy. Yesterday, Senate Bill 350 was passed into law, but only after industry forces succeeded in removing the bill’s petroleum reductions mandate, at the expense of crucial health benefits. As physicians and health professionals that work in environmental justice communities, the inability of corporate democrats to prioritize the health and well-being of their most vulnerable constituents is unconscionable
Air pollution in LA County continues to put Angelenos at risk for asthma, pulmonary disease, cancer, and low-birth weight in infants. The American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report gave LA County an “F” score due to elevated levels of ozone, particulate matter, ultra fine particles and other toxic air contaminants. In California, as many as 24,000 deaths annually are linked to chronic exposure to fine particulate matter. These deaths are indefensible and should weigh on the consciences of certain legislators.
Despite the removal of an oil reduction target, SB 350 contains important steps forward that will help clean the air and fight climate change: both the expanded renewable portfolio standard and the energy efficiency targets will build out more clean, equitable energy use and production in our state. The passage of this bill is an important step towards the kind of climate policies that we know we can achieve in California.
In an additional setback to California’s climate leadership, a second piece of forward-moving climate change legislation – Senate Bill 32 – is no longer being considered during this legislative session. SB 32 has instead become a two-year bill and will be reconsidered in January 2016.
PSR-LA pledges to remain active in ensuring that the implementation of California’s climate laws are enforced and have a strong environmental justice focus that will bring much-needed health and equity improvements to the low-income communities and communities of color experiencing disproportionate air quality impacts due to climate change.
PSR-LA Executive Director Martha Dina Arguello expressed her continued commitment to the passage of strong climate change policies in California – “We look forward to the Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León’s ongoing leadership on climate change, and we encourage Governor Brown to use all of his authority to push for reductions in petroleum use.”
PSR-LA will continue to work at the local, state and national level to push for health-centric climate change policies that benefit the state’s most vulnerable communities.