Legislature Passes Bill to Create Oversight Board at Broken Toxics Regulator

California Environmental Justice Alliance acknowledges “hopeful step” towards functioning department

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contact: Raquel Mason, raquel@caleja.org

Sacramento, CA | June 29,2021 – Last night, the California Legislature passed SB 158 to create structural changes at the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). This budget trailer bill will create the first environmental safety and oversight board at DTSC, including an environmental justice advisory body; increase remediation funds and community resources; develop plans to reduce hazardous waste generation, and add safeguards and guidelines to reduce the backlog of expired permits. 

Raquel Mason, CEJA Policy Manager, issued the following statement: 

The trailer bill passed by the Legislature is a critical step towards an accountable, functioning Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Since its creation in 1991, DTSC remains the only regulatory board or department within the California Environmental Protection Agency without an oversight board. DTSC has remained a black box to residents and advocates for too long. We are hopeful that an oversight board is a starting point for long-overdue transparency and accountability at the Department. 

For decades, DTSC has endangered the lives of working class communities of color. Slow-moving and mismanaged clean-ups have left our communities’ homes and yards filled with arsenic, lead, and other cancer-causing pollutants for far too long.  

From Southeast Los Angeles to the Bay Area to Kern County, environmental justice communities have fought to see a functioning DTSC with guardrails against life-endangering mismanagement and oversight for nearly 10 years. 

Today, after years of resident organizing and with new leadership at the DTSC, CEJA regards the passage of today’s trailer bill as a hopeful step towards a more transparent, responsive, and functional DTSC. 

CEJA will continue to work with impacted EJ community residents to push for further improvements to the department in order to provide greater protections and safeguards for frontline communities hardest hit by toxic pollution. 

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