Environmental Justice Element

The City of San Pablo is creating an Environmental Justice Element

What is Environmental Justice?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”

 This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:

  • the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
  • equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

What is an Environmental Justice Element?

The new Environmental Justice Element will become part of the city’s General Plan, which represents the community’s view of its future and is often referred to as a blueprint for growth and development. 
 Through the process of creating the element, the city will evaluate its existing policies and create new ones to minimize pollution and its effects on all neighborhoods, with an emphasis on those in environmental justice communities. 
 The Environmental Justice Element will ensure that residents have a say in decisions that affect their quality of life and will address disproportionate impacts to certain environmental justice communities in order to ensure an equal distribution of resources. 

 The Environmental Justice Element will cover the eight topics below:

  1. Reduce pollution exposure and improve air quality 
  2. Promote public facilities
  3. Promote food access
  4. Promote safe and sanitary homes
  5. Promote physical activity
  6. Reduce any additional unique or compounded health risks
  7. Promote civic engagement in the public decision-making process
  8. Prioritize improvements and programs that address the needs of disadvantaged communities

Why is the city creating an Environmental Justice Element?

The state of California is asking cities to incorporate environmental justice related goals, policies and programs into their general plan. More about this can be found in Senate Bill 1000, known as The Planning for Healthy Communities Act. The City is creating a stand-alone Element to have all environmental justice-related topics in one document for easy reference.

An environmental justice community is an area of a community disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and other hazards that can lead to negative health effects, exposure, or environmental degradation. These areas deserve special attention to address issues of environmental justice. 

 Community Conversations, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Public outreach efforts with community members are underway! Some of the topic that can be discussed include cleaner streets and parks, better sidewalks and lighting, park improvements, more traffic safety, more bike lanes, more trees and shade, access to healthy foods, and better maintained housing. 

If you live or work in San Pablo, we would like to have a conversation with you about your thoughts and concerns and ideas for improvement. Please contact Planning at planning@sanpabloca.gov or 510-215-3058.