Yesterday, California Air Resources Board (CARB) President Mary Nichols posted an insensitive and tone-deaf Tweet, taking advantage of the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd to push her environmental agenda. This Tweet enraged many, for good reason, as it shows that she does not really understand the needs of communities of color.
While Black Lives Matter is a movement primarily about police brutality and that is the focus of their cause right now, we wanted to take the opportunity to address Mary Nichol’s own statement, that those who do climate and environmental policy “can and must do more.”
Ironically, many of the policies that Mary Nichols and CARB have promoted in the past few years will negatively affect BIPOC families the most. CARBs new scoping plan for CEQA’s expansion would multiply the negative effects of California’s housing crisis on families and communities of color. The plan promotes racial discrimination in housing and violates fair housing laws. It is a civil rights violation. The additional cost of $40,000 to each new home through the implementation of these new requirements would force families who need more affordable housing to live in areas further from job centers. The increase in long commutes for people of color who cannot afford to live near where they work actually would increase air pollution, undermining CARB’s goal of decreasing greenhouse gases.
California only contributes 1% of greenhouse gases worldwide. CARB’s scoping plan would only decrease this amount by 1% (so, 1% of the 1% contributed). Last year, California’s grass and forest fires created nearly five times more air pollution than this goal would try to reduce. The new costs associated with this scoping plan would drastically decrease any possibility we have in fixing California’s housing crisis. As this disproportionately attacks low and moderate income families, therefore endangering the economic future of the state, we ask you to consider if the goals of your new scoping plan are worth it.
This scoping plan makes it easier to file CEQA lawsuits which reduce the overall supply of housing and drive up costs, forcing families to live outside of city centers and then would charge them a per mile fee for driving more. The plan disproportionately places the cost of environmental protection on families that are already struggling to afford California’s already astronomically high cost of living.
We urge Mary Nichols and CARB to reconsider the scoping plan, and join in the efforts to more fairly distribute the cost and benefits of environmental protection. To help, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 242-4450 to voice your complaints and make CARB and Mary Nichols DO BETTER. You can also Retweet, Like, or comment on our Twitter thread on this topic: