Today, Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes introduced AB 1547 which establishes a good neighbor policy for warehouse developments, which would require responsible environmental standards to mitigate the impact of warehouse developments on schools, residential neighborhoods and the surrounding environment.
Specifically, AB 1547 requires the following prior to the approval of a warehouse development:
- A 1,000-yard buffer zone between the boundary of the site and sensitive land use such as schools, parks and residential neighborhoods.
- Local notice to the affected community with details about the project.
- Require on-site equipment such as forklifts and other dock machinery to be powered by zero emission technology.
- Require construction equipment to use highest emission standards currently available.
- Conduct an analysis of air quality impacts of the warehouse development taking into account the truck traffic increase caused by the project.
- Require project applicant to hold series of community meetings with affected residents to develop a community benefits agreement.
- Community Benefit Agreement must include:
- Plan to incorporate zero emission trucks;
- Ensure use of zero emission last mile delivery; and
- Local hire for jobs.
“If California is going to meet its environmental goals we must develop environmental standards for warehouse developments, which often are built near already disadvantaged communities and account for nearly half of NOx emissions.” Assemblymember Reyes continued, “The lock downs required because of the COVID Pandemic showed the ability of the logistic industry to get supplies and necessary household items to people all across California. This efficiency comes with a cost to the health of communities near warehouses that suffer from the emissions of diesel truck traffic nearly every day, all day. We must find a balance between the logistics industry and the protection of resident’s health.”
The Inland Empire has approximately 1.1 billion square feet of warehouse space, the equivalent of nearly 23,000 football fields. The boom of warehouse growth in the Inland Empire has pushed developments closer to residential neighborhoods, schools, churches and parks. Some projects have been constructed within 100 feet of homes, despite warnings from air regulators about the health dangers of people living that close to warehouse developments due to truck pollution.
70% of the cargo that moves through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports moves via heavy diesel trucks through the South Coast Basin with 40% of trucks delivering to warehouses, distribution centers, and logistics facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The logistics industry continues to expand in the region with 21 of the largest 100 logistics leases signed in 2019 nationwide occurred in the Inland Empire compromising 17.4 million square feet. Many market forecasts predict that California’s Central Valley will be the next big wave of warehouse development.
According to the SoCal Association of Governments, goods movement is responsible for approximately 47% of all NOx emissions, and about 18% of all PM 2.5 emissions in the South Coast Air Basin. Heavy-duty trucks account for about 75 percent of NOx emissions and 61 percent of the PM2.5 emissions from goods movement sources in Southern California. The rate of asthma in the Inland Empire for children from birth to 4 years old is nearly four times the national average.
“The goods movement industry and warehouses are booming. Yet, millions of Californians breathe air that fails to meet national and state air quality standards. Unchecked warehouse growth attracts toxic diesel pollution and causes significant quality-of-life impacts. These impacts are particularly severe in low-income communities and communities of color,” Said Chris Chavez, Deputy Policy Director for Coalition of Clean Air. “Californians should not subsidize the global economy with their health and quality of life. AB 1547 will relieve much of this burden by building upon local rules to reign in pollution from warehouses.”
“Over the last decade, the explosion of warehousing and logistics centers has run rampant without clear protections and benefits to the communities where they are located,” said Matt Abularach-Macias, Campaigns & Organizing Manager, California League of Conservation Voters. “AB 1547 would be a game changer for these disinvested and BIPOC communities lacking good jobs and living with some of the worst air quality in the country. The Good Neighbor Policy sets a new course to create standards that protect Californians while ensuring developers and local decision makers cannot plop warehouses into our backyards without regard for our health. We support AB 1547 because we can and must do better to prevent e-commerce & warehousing activities from perpetuating environmental racism.”
Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes represents Assembly District 47 which includes the cities of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and the unincorporated areas of Muscoy and Bloomington.