Attention non-profit and organizational partners!
The Legislature is back in session and has just four weeks to finish their business for the year. Among their priorities is finalizing Cap and Trade expenditures, which includes the Urban Greening Program under the California Resources Agency. Currently the only source of state funding for parks, Urban Greening has been reported by local cities and partners as by far the most flexible and accessible Cap and Trade program, and in its first year received almost $400 million in applications for the $80 million available.
The below sign-on letter asks the Legislature for an increase in appropriations to the program, to better meet the demand for projects by communities. If you decide to support this ask, please send your logo and name of signatory to Rico Mastrodonato at The Trust for Public Land (email@example.com) by Wednesday, August 30.
Please reach out to Edna Robidas at The Trust for Public Land (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Text of Sign-On Letter (UPDATED):
August 29, 2017
Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
Budget Committee Members
State Capitol Rooms 5019 and 6026
Sacramento CA 95814
Re: Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan – Fund Urban Greening at $140 million
Dear Pro Tem, Speaker and Committee Members,
We the undersigned would like to strongly express our support for funding the Urban Greening Program at $140 million in the Cap and Trade expenditure plan for 2017-18. The program’s flexible design and focus on disadvantaged communities are critical elements in making our most underserved communities ‘climate smart’ by inducing active transportation, reducing energy demand and decreasing GHG emissions – all while dramatically improving quality of life.
Ask: Urban Greening (Increase to $140 Million)
California is clearly leading the country and the word in addressing climate change and adapting to our new normal. Transforming our infrastructure will play an essential role in achieving our 2020 and 2030 targets, as well as helping our neighborhoods adapt to current climate threats and addressing inequalities across our state. Furthermore, AB 398 expressly called out Urban Greening and adaptation as a priority for Cap & Trade investments.
We also know there is significant demand for the Urban Greening program. With the Resources Agency about to award grants from this program in the next few months, to date they have already received over $375 million in applications, an over-subscription of 5-fold from last year’s allocation. Local governments and community-based organizations are reporting the Urban Greening Program is the most accessible and flexible of all of the Cap & Trade programs, and it is one of few Cap & Trade investments that go to work in communities in a visual way – allowing the State to point to the impact of Cap & Trade investments.
By all scientific accounts, including reports from Lawrence Berkeley Labs and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), longer and more intense heat waves are coming and are our biggest immediate human health threat. Greening our infrastructure mitigates against heat island effect and adapts our communities to rising temperatures. When considering communities hit first and worst by climate change, urban greening will not only lower energy costs for the state, but also for families escaping the heat of summer.
Climate smart parks and other multi-benefit urban greening projects can also capture precious water. Modern technology and nature-based design allows projects that can capture over 95% of the precipitation that hits the ground and can be used for landscaping and other purposes. When you think of the health, climate, water resource, and recreational benefits of local parks and other multi-benefit greening – these investments are unparalleled in terms of cost benefits.
These very same project types represent tremendous adaptation and co-benefits by protecting us from sea-level rise, flooding, and fire risks along urban edges, as well as creating job training and contracting opportunities for our most underserved communities. Public health, clean air, clean water, and essential recreational opportunities, are a just a few of the long list of co-benefits urban greening provides.
Investments in this critical new program should be increased to $140 million annually, and should be augmented from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. In addition, the program should continue its focus on disadvantaged communities.
We would like to express our thanks to the Administration as well as Senate and Assembly leadership for supporting investments to green our most underserved communities, and we also thank your staff for their accessibility and work on these proposals.