SACRAMENTO CA (4/28/2021) – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced an expansion of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Environmental Justice. Established in 2018, the Bureau was the first of its kind in a state attorney general’s office and created to protect people and communities that endure a disproportionate share of environmental pollution and public health hazards. When the hiring is complete, the Bureau will house 11 attorneys who are solely focused on fighting environmental injustices throughout the state of California and giving a voice to frontline communities who are all too often under-resourced and overburdened.
“No Californian should have to breathe toxic air or drink dirty water. But that is the unfortunate reality for far too many of our communities across the state, particularly low-income communities and communities of color,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Their fights are our fights, and as Attorney General, I am committed to devoting staff and resources to helping those Californians whose health and safety are put at risk by environmental pollution. The expansion of the Department’s Bureau of Environmental Justice will allow us to increase oversight, take on more cases, and hopefully, change the lives of impacted Californians for the better.”
In the past three years, the Bureau of Environmental Justice has reviewed hundreds of projects and engaged with impacted communities, local governments, labor groups, and other organizations to promote environmental justice across the state. With additional attorneys, the Bureau will be able to expand its oversight and enforcement work, focusing on:
Ensuring compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and land use planning laws;
Penalizing and preventing illegal discharge to air and water from facilities located in communities already burdened disproportionately with pollution;
Eliminating or reducing exposure to lead and other toxins in the environment and consumer products;
Remediating contaminated drinking water; and
Challenging the Federal Government’s actions that repeal or reduce public health and environmental protections.
You can find more information on the Bureau and its work at: https://oag.ca.gov/environment/justice.
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