Governor Newsom Highlights DTSC Reform Legislation to Protect the Health of Vulnerable Communities

BELL GARDENS – Governor Gavin Newsom today visited Bell Gardens, a pollution hotspot in Los Angeles County, to highlight comprehensive toxics governance, policy and fee reform legislation that paves the way to safer, healthier communities through increased transparency and accountability at the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The legislation also ensures the funds required to investigate and start the process of environmental remediation for the state’s contaminated sites.

“In the California Comeback, no one is being left behind. We’re making transformative investments to ensure that our overburdened communities, which were also disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, will finally have an equitable opportunity to thrive in a healthy environment,” said Governor Newsom, who today met with impacted members of the community. “This comprehensive legislation gives DTSC the tools and sustainable funding it needs to make our communities cleaner and safer and boosts transparency and accountability to the public. I want to thank Assemblymember Cristina Garcia for championing this effort as well as the dedication of Speaker Rendon and Pro Tem Atkins, Assemblymembers Quirk, Santiago and Carrillo, Senators Durazo, Gonzalez and Wieckowski and countless stakeholders for their leadership and collaboration to bring this reform to fruition.”

Signed as part of the state budget Monday, SB 158 restructures and increases fees related to the handling of hazardous substances and hazardous waste, which is expected to add approximately $104 million annually in revenue for DTSC beginning in 2022-23. The additional funding will enable DTSC to deliver on its statutory responsibilities and workload, which has increased significantly over the decades.

Increasing transparency and oversight of the Department and its work, the legislation creates a new Board of Environmental Safety within DTSC, and establishes an Ombudsperson to receive complaints and suggestions, offer assistance to the public and make recommendations to the Department.

“These are generational investments towards creating a toxic free future in California,” said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “This reform will empower the Department of Toxic Substances Control with the funds needed to develop a comprehensive plan for managing and enforcing against all hazardous waste generated in the state, while also seeking out less toxic alternatives so that we can continue to lead and innovate in environmental protection the way Californians deserve.”

The legislation also invests $500 million to accelerate the cleanup of contaminated properties and perform investigations throughout the state and $322.4 million for the cleanup of additional properties near the former Exide facility in Vernon. To date, the state has provided over $251 million for residential cleanup and other costs associated with the Exide facility.