For the first time in history, the Enforcement and Emergency Response Program staff of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) produced a separate report to chronicle its environmental justice activities. The DTSC Environmental Justice Enforcement Initiative (the “Initiative”) Report is not only a report card on the Initiative. It is a statement about what we have learned since the Initiative’s inception in mid 2007. As you will see, we have learned a lot about what can make government more effective, efficient and transparent while addressing environmental harms and ensuring fair, consistent and uniform environmental enforcement in California.
This publication is unlike a traditional report because it describes our efforts at developing a timely and relevant community‐based environmental enforcement model that taps both new technology and the knowledge of our citizens to improve the environment and keep Californians healthy. The model shows how government resources can be optimized to tackle environmental problems. We know there really is a “belly of the beast” ‐‐ where some of the worst environmental harms and health risks exist in our state. We know there is power and strength in partnership and collaboration; enforcement can be more effective and efficient when community‐ based predictive policing is employed.
We also know that too many Californians have lost confidence in government and its ability to solve problems. Thus, the Initiative helps restore public trust by working with communities in developing meaningful performance measures for reducing environmental harms. As this report points out, it is all about embracing innovation and transparency while establishing community trust.
DTSC, and especially our Enforcement and Emergency Response Program staff and dedicated Initiative personnel, are indebted to the great partners from communities, academia, government and industry who contributed to this report, to our activities and to the success of the Initiative. We couldn’t do this work without them.
Gale Filter, DTSC Deputy Director, Enforcement and Emergency Response