RAMP engages in a wide range of policy efforts aimed at addressing the burden of asthma. These efforts range from sponsoring state legislation on cleaning practices in schools to participating in regional and state level regulatory campaigns to improve outdoor air quality.
Below is a sample of the policies RAMP, in collaboration with key partners, including Community Action to Fight Asthma, is actively supporting in 2013.
Outdoor Air Quality/Land Use
Together, these bills reauthorize incentive funding used to achieve emissions reductions. These funds – currently scheduled to sunset at the end of 2013 – have helped retrofit and replace diesel engines across the state. Continuing this stream of funding will help convert more vehicles and machinery to lower-emitting technologies, helping to meet air quality goals.
- SB 691 (Hancock) – Emission Violation Fines
In response to last year’s Chevron refinery fire in Richmond,CA, this bill seeks to increase the penalties for large-scale air quality violations. This bill will help increase the cost of violations, thus creating additional incentives to maintain practices that prevent such large-scale disasters.
- SB 811 (Lara) – I-710 Freeway Expansion
This bill would require that the environmental review of an expansion of the I-710 freeway in Los Angeles and Long Beach include a review of plans to address the air quality, public health, and mobility impacts of the project on neighboring communities. Such a review would include an analysis of investments in identified mitigation measure and community benefits for the affected communities and the Los Angeles River.
RAMP has supported various policies related to California’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. RAMP has focused its attention on those climate change policies that have the most direct health “co-benefits” for those with asthma. For example, policies to reduce GHGs through reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have the added benefit of improving overall air quality. RAMP is paying specific attention to regional and state efforts to reduce GHGs and VMT through land use (see SB 375). For example, within the Bay Area, RAMP and other advocates are pushing for the adoption of a Sustainable Communities Strategy that maximizes environmental benefits. At the state level, RAMP and partners are working to ensure the full implementation of policies like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which will bring alternative fuels into the market place and help lower GHGs and pollution in the process.
- Promoting transformational changes to the state’s freight system
RAMP is working with many partners to address the health problems and social inequities related to the state’s freight transportation system – the infrastructure of ships, ports, trains, rail yards, distribution centers trucks and other equipment that move goods in and across California. In addition to those goods, the freight system brings pollution and quality of life burdens to too many communities, especially low income communities and communities of color. In addition to advocating for the full implementation of the state’s diesel risk reduction regulations, RAMP and its allies are also working with the California Air Resources Board to develop and adopt transformational changes to the freight system.
- Promoting public health in regional land use decisions
RAMP, as part of the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative (DDDC), is working to adopt public health and environmental criteria into land use and transportation planning scenarios for the San Francisco Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. Locally, DDDC has been actively engaged with the staff of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to promote health protective measures that highlight land use conflicts, affordable housing developments and freight transport issues within the Bay Area. RAMP continues to advocate for smart growth and healthy development where economic, environmental and public health inequities exist.
- SB 488 (Hueso) – Enforcement of Pest Infestations
This bill, co-sponsored by RAMP through our participation in the California Healthy Housing Coalition, would close a code enforcement loophole, thus allowing all communities to have existing law around pest infestations enforced. Pests, particularly cockroaches and rodents, are major home-related asthma triggers.
- SB 391 (DeSaulnier) – California Homes and Jobs Act of 2013
This bill establishes a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. This funding will make up for funding lost for affordable housing with recent elimination of the state’s redevelopment agencies. A lack of quality affordable housing serves as a force that pushes people into living in unhealthy, substandard housing conditions. This bill would increase access to healthy, affordable housing.
- AB 1229 (Atkins) – Inclusionary Housing
A lack of quality affordable housing serves as a force that pushes people into living in unhealthy, substandard housing conditions. Inclusionary housing policies ensures a minimum portion of all new development be affordable to low and very low income residents.
RAMP has been active in helping to shape the restructuring of the City ofOakland’s Building Services. As part of this restructuring, the City has committed to developing more proactive ways to enforce the city’s housing code, with a focus on substandard multi-family structures and streamline public health resources.
- AB 1194 (Amiano) – Safe Routes to Schools Funding
This bill would establish a minimum funding level for Safe Routes to Schools Programs. These programs reduce driving to schools, thus reducing emissions and improving air quality, among the other benefits associated with active transportation.
- AB 1330 (J.Perez) – Equitable Public Comment
This bill is directed at increasing opportunities for community input on public decision-making. All public meetings must allow for public testimony. If there is a time limit for that testimony, this bill states that the time used by a translator for a non-English speaking person’s testimony not count against the speaker’s allotted time. As an environmental justice bill, this helps ensure all members of the community have equal opportunity to provide pubic comment on policy issues.
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