The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisors Janice Hahn, 4th District, and Hilda Solis, 1st District, voted unanimously on April 5 to establish environmental justice and climate health as official board priorities. The board also voted to create an Office of Environmental Justice and Climate Health within the Department of Public Health.
The move is part of Hahn’s effort to change L.A. County’s approach to environmental justice and health hazards from reactive to proactive, she said.
“This board has demonstrated its dedication to environmental justice and climate health, but our approach has been reactive and too often after a situation reaches a crisis level,” Hahn said. “We need to change our approach, bake environmental justice and climate health into our work countywide, and be proactive about preventing the burdens of industry from impacting our most vulnerable communities.”
The board will rename and revise the current board directed priority of “Environmental Health Monitoring and Oversight” to “Environmental Justice and Climate Health.” The board also directed the Department of Public Health to report back in 120 days with a plan to create the Office of Environmental Justice and Climate Health, as well as a plan to consult with local environmental organizations. The supervisors want to consider a comprehensive set of policy areas that could be pursued to reduce public health disparities in communities overburdened by pollution exposure and poor air quality, and identify data that could be used to better understand environmental conditions.
“In the wake of environmental threats the county has faced in the past decade and the evolving threat of climate change, I am elated to partner with Supervisor Hahn in setting the stage for a newly created Office of Environmental Justice within our Department of Public Health to safeguard public health,” Solis added “As the board continues to prioritize environmental and climate health, it is critical that we take bold steps in our actions to proactively mitigate and respond decisively to acts of environmental injustice.”
For information, visit bos.lacounty.gov.
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