Provide the highest level of safety, and
mined, and neither the public nor government has an accurate history of noncompliance for facilities in subsequent permit or enforcement proceedings.
It should come as no surprise that envi‐ ronmental justice (EJ) communities bear greater burdens since there tends to be a greater con‐ centration of polluting facilities located in EJ neighborhoods than elsewhere in the state No wonder, then, that EJ residents cry out for vigor‐ ous environmental enforcement.
For government to meet the demands for greater accountability, responsibility and transparency, especially in EJ communities, three objectives must be achieved:
Reduction of environmental harms and health risks through targeted enforcement actions of the “worst offenders” identified by EJ communities. Minimization of arbitrariness by establish‐ ment of fair, consistent and uniform enforce‐ ment actions. Democratization of the decision‐ and policy‐ making environmental enforcement proc‐ esses by opening enforcement to the public. Together, the community and government must develop and implement government strategies and performance measures for environmental enforcement. The EJ Enforcement Initiative of the Cali‐ fornia Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) provides a blueprint for change. It is, sim‐ ply, a new model for environmental enforce‐ ment. Sean Hecht, former California Deputy At‐ torney General and now Director of the Environ‐ mental Law Center at The University of Califor‐ nia, Los Angeles, Law School, notes that there is a need for “citizen regulators” because “government agencies are limited in their en‐ forcement capacity.” ——————————— • • • 2
2 Lyndsey Layton, “'Citizen Regulators' Take Toy Safety Test‐ ing Into Their Own Hands,” Washington Post (December 26, 2009) at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp‐dyn/content/ article/2009/12/25/AR2009122501674.html.
Mission Statement: protect public health and the environment from toxic harm.
There also is a critical need to rethink how we measure success in our environmental enforcement programs. Traditional enforce‐ ment metrics invariably measure the number of inspections conducted, violations issued, cases opened and closed, settlements negotiated, monetary penalties and convictions obtained. Such measures can distort the efficacy of en‐ forcement.
In contrast, the DTSC EJ Enforcement Initiative focuses on outcomes rather than out‐ puts. In fact, the Initiative emphasizes effective and efficient enforcement by mandating that the work revolve around identifying and reduc‐ ing environmental harms and health risks.
Environmental Justice-Related Strategic Plan Goals Dept. of Toxic Substances Control 2009-2014*
⇒ Maximize protection of human health and the environment, and the restoration of communities impacted by toxic harm.
⇒ Be a leader in the institutionalization of community policing to identify and reduce toxic harms.
*Goals as of July 1, 2009
Launched in mid‐2007 by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s DTSC with a shoestring budget and minimal staffing, the Ini‐ tiative is novel because it brings together gov‐ ernment entities that partner with EJ communi‐ ties to “spot and squish” environmental harms using today’s laws and regulations.
At DTSC, the Initiative is a fundamental level of enforcement work that compliments and strengthens our traditional environmental enforcement processes. The Initiative also is a key element of DTSC’s Strategic Plan.
This report tells the story of the Initia‐ tive’s activities in calendar 2009.