American Lung Association in California Statement on Governor Brown’s Proposed Draft Budget
(January 8, 2016)
The American Lung Association in California appreciates Governor Brown’s focus on state investments to boost local climate action, reduce petroleum dependence, and support clean energy and reign in short-lived climate pollutants in the proposed 2016 state budget. While there are many important air quality and climate programs proposed for funding, we believe more needs to be done to address the urgency of climate change by pushing climate investment funding from 2015 out the door early and expanding funds available to transform our transportation system. Climate investment dollars are a critical tool to promote clean air, healthy lungs and sustainable communities statewide.
Improving health and reducing emergencies caused by smog and soot and worsened by climate pollution are key priorities in 2016. This means that California must accelerate investments in the transition away from fossil fuels that pollute our air. The $500 million in funding for low carbon transportation projects, which includes unspent 2015 funds, will provide important support for California’s commitment to widespread electrification of the transportation sector. The Lung Association is calling for greater and continuing appropriations to rapidly clean up our transportation sector, which is the leading source of pollution in California, and a particular burden on our most disadvantaged communities. In addition, we support the proposed $40 million investment in wood smoke reduction programs that will help eliminate local exposure to carcinogenic particles while reducing black carbon, a potent climate pollutant.
The American Lung Association strongly supports continued, increasing investments to promote zero emission solutions including electric and fuel cell cars, trucks and buses and zero-emission freight strategies as well as sustainable communities that offer residents safe and equitable access to walking, biking and transit options. Climate investment funds must be spent on these clean air solutions and not on road building or expansion. Our clean air and climate progress can’t wait – we can’t afford to continue to hold pollution reduction funds in reserve or fund conventional transportation. These public funds should be working to prevent asthma attacks and other respiratory health risks and reduce pollution, especially in our most vulnerable communities.
The American Lung Association in California is committed to working with the Governor, the California Air Resources Board and other state agencies and local government officials to pursue climate investments that protect the public from the daily health emergencies and long term health threats posed by fossil fuels.