- Unai Montes-Irueste
- Communications Director
AB 480 crafted in the wake of a report by the University of Southern California showing lead contamination in the baby teeth of children living in the communities surrounding the Exide battery plant, gives local authorities the power to take early action to protect Californians
(Sacramento, CA) – Both the Senate and Assembly have voted to send Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo’s (AD-51, Los Angeles) AB 480 to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. AB 480 would give local county regulators the power to access facilities for inspections, and in some cases, temporarily shut them down, to address industrial accidents, or other potential sources of harm to public health and the environment.
“Sending AB 480 to the Governor’s desk is a huge win for the people of California. Despite deep opposition from industries, I have worked to bring greater authority to local jurisdictions to take the appropriate action against threats to our public’s health. Every person who stood up and spoke out against toxic contamination in our communities made this victory possible,” said Assemblywoman Carrillo. “AB 480 is common sense legislation impacting environmental and economic justice that will enable local authorities to act in the interest of people and better protect our communities’ health and safety while coordinating with the proper agencies. We need to ensure accountability and transparency for all Californians affected by manmade disasters. We need to ensure Black and Brown communities are protected –and that another Exide level environmental disaster never happens again,” she added.
In California, multiple regulatory authorities have jurisdiction over businesses that handle or generate hazardous waste and materials that pose a risk to public health and safety. This includes, for example, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Locally, a Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) is responsible for implementing and enforcing hazardous materials and waste laws, and the Local Health Officer has general authority to protect the public’s health and expanded authority in cases of a declared emergency.
AB 480 will allow the CUPAs to take immediate action directing facilities that pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety to temporarily cease operations of their facility, or portions of their facility until the issue is corrected. Specifically, this bill will:
- Strengthen the obligation for reporting the release of a hazardous material or substance, as defined in regulation, to CUPA or other regulatory agency, and;
- In consultation with the Local Health Officer, provide authority to CUPAs to issue orders against any parties responsible for a hazardous substance or material exposure that poses an imminent or substantial endangerment to the public health which may include requiring the immediate suspension of the contributing activity and requiring an environmental investigation and temporary relocation relief of affected individuals.
- Provides the facility or responsible party an opportunity to appeal an order of immediate suspension.
AB 480 and complementary 2021-22 State Budget actions will bolster our state’s progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, impose tighter regulations for industrial accidents and ensure justice for communities most impacted by pollution and climate change. Assemblywoman Carrillo’s steadfast leadership as Chair of Budget Subcommittee #4 for State Administration and made these strides forward possible.
Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo was elected as the representative of the 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is the Chair of Budget Subcommittee #4 on State Administration, and a member of the Appropriations, Budget, Health, Privacy and Consumer Protection, and Utilities and Energy Committees, as well as Chair of the Uplifting Girls and Women of Color in California Select Committee. Assemblywoman Carrillo represents the people of East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, and the neighborhoods of El Sereno, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and parts of Silver Lake.