American Lung Association in California Statement: Governor Brown Signs A Strong Clean Air Budget

Sacramento, CA (June 20, 2014)

The American Lung Association in California applauds new funding allocated in the Governor’s budget today for climate solutions that improve public health in California.  Due to Cap and Trade revenues, the 2014/15 state budget includes important new investments in low carbon transportation, sustainable communities, energy efficiency and other projects that clean the air, promote lower cost transportation choices and grow a greener economy in California.

This budget marks a critical milestone in California’s fight against climate change that threatens public health and the quality of our air. With the investment this year of $872 million for greenhouse gas reduction programs and a long term plan for continued investment, California has a budget that moves us considerably closer to transforming our energy and transportation choices.  This budget reflects the strong support among Californians for action to fight climate change.  For example, an overwhelming majority, 81% of Californians, support California’s measures to require oil companies to produce cleaner fuels.  Few public policy issues enjoy such broad and deep consensus.

We applaud the investment this year of $200 million for low carbon transportation. The commercialization of electric vehicles, including battery electric and fuel cell passenger vehicles as well as the development of non-polluting technologies for heavier duty trucks and buses will provide air quality and climate benefits across the state, including in our most polluted and disadvantaged communities. The American Lung Association in California also supports the long-term investment of 35 percent of future funds into a greenhouse gas reduction package that includes low carbon transportation, smart growth, clean energy and transit projects.  These investments will help move California away from dependence on polluting petroleum fuels and provide real choices for consumers.

The Cap and Trade investments will provide tremendous public health benefits.  The state’s investments in cleaner and healthier fuels, technologies and community design included in the state budget will cut smog and soot that harm millions of Californians and lead to costly hospital visits.  A recent American Lung Association in California report found that California’s transition to cleaner fuels will result in cumulative savings of $23 billion in health and societal benefits by 2025. In addition, the important emphasis on sustainable communities means that more funding will be invested in safer, more walkable, bike-friendly and transit-accessible neighborhoods that help reduce chronic illness, rather than status quo sprawl. Importantly, this budget ensures significant investments in our most disadvantaged communities so that all communities have access to clean technologies and fuels that improve health and quality of life.

The American Lung Association applauds the Cap and Trade investments as another critical step toward full implementation of AB 32, California’s groundbreaking clean air and clean energy law.