Tuesday, 07 February 2023

De Leòn joins USC Schwarzenegger Institute to launch statewide fight against air pollution

LOS ANGELES – The USC Schwarzenegger Institute announced that California Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de Leòn will join the institute as a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Climate, Environmental Justice and Health.

De León will lead the Institute’s statewide campaign to fight childhood asthma caused by tailpipe emissions and pollution by identifying barriers to transportation electrification.

Today, eight of the 10 most polluted cities in America are in California. That pollution is a public health crisis, particularly for communities of color, children and seniors.

Statewide, over five million people have asthma, and nearly 10% of kids in California have asthma. School aged children are between 20 percent and 40 percent more likely to suffer from asthma than adults. In fact, asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism in California public schools, resulting in over 14 million absences each year.

Building on the success of SB 100, De Leòn will bring together elected officials, regional transit operators, union officials, electric bus and truck manufacturers and others to find actionable solutions to childhood asthma.

“Kevin has guts and isn’t afraid to work across party lines to get the right thing done. His environmental leadership took AB 32 to the next level and created a new bar for the rest of the nation to meet,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “I’m excited to welcome him to the Institute and know we’ll accomplish great things together.”

“Tail-pipe pollution is a public health crisis threatening our environment and the health of millions of our children,” said de Leon. “Every California policymaker and planner needs to be asking themselves; how can we transform our transportation system, not years down the road, but right now. I’m looking forward to working with Arnold, the Schwarzenegger Institute and leaders across the state to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.”

During his twelve-year tenure in the Legislature, de León authored some of the nation’s most far reaching climate and environmental justice policies. Senate Bill 350 requires buildings to double their energy efficiency and made the nation’s single largest investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

SB 535 created the so-called “California Enviro Screen,” which requires a quarter of all Cap-and-Trade auction revenues be invested in communities most heavily impacted by air and water pollution and the adverse impacts of climate change.

SB 100 puts California on the path to 100% clean energy by 2045, and SB 32 expands the requirements of Gov. Schwarzenegger, Speaker Fabian Nunez, and Sen. Fran Pavley’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

Professor Antonio Bento and leading scholars from the University of Southern California and other major research universities will contribute to the initiative. Dan Jacobson with Environment California, an architect of the 100% clean energy law, and Dan Reeves, de León’s former Chief of Staff, will support the campaign and fundraising efforts.

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy is committed to advancing post-partisanship, where state and global leaders work together to establish best practices in policymaking regardless of political party. Through research, conferences, and advocacy the Institute seeks to inform public policy and debate to confront serious challenges to our society including climate change, political reform, and education.

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