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Climate Policy Equals Community Investment

by admin on 10th-September-2015
Tonya Burke

Tonya Burke

This summer is turning out to be a historic one for the future of California, and the health and economy of its people. Two important clean energy and pollution reduction bills, SB32 and SB350, just passed the State Senate, and will be voted on by the Assembly before it goes to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. But how will these bills affect us in the Inland Empire? In my opinion, positively.

I recently attended an event in Perris, alongside Assemblymember Jose Medina, and representatives from GRID Alternatives, the American Lung Association, and Presente, where a solar panel system was installed at the home of Salvador Jimenez, who could not afford such a system. So how did it happen?

The funding was generated by AB32’s cap and trade program, which was passed in 2006 in California. A significant portion of the funds from the program is targeted to communities like Perris that have been impacted by increased pollution, and are home to economically disadvantaged communities. More than $800 million has already been allocated statewide, with another $2.2 billion to be spent before July 2016. It’s these types of climate legislation that deliver real money into our communities, creating energy upgrades for homeowners, and job opportunities for local workers.

It’s important to understand that these climate bills aren’t just addressing the negative environmental impacts the biggest polluters of the state, profit driven oil companies, are creating, but will protect the health of our families, and energize our local economies. With the passage of AB32 in 2006, California’s GDP is nearly 30% higher than it was in 2006 ($2.2 trillion vs. $1.6 trillion). California leads the nation in private sector job growth, adding 1.6 million jobs. And California’s clean transportation policies will save over $8 billion on health care costs.

Looking at these numbers, and from my own personal experience, it’s clear to me that California’s climate policies, and climate investment programs will continue to create a win-win for our state, city, and its residents.

Tonya Burke
Mayor Pro Tem, City of Perris

Category: Point of View.
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