The Bay Area is losing out on its fair share of $250 million in state cap and trade money to help disadvantaged communities combat serious environmental problems, under a skewed funding formula concocted by the California Environmental Protection Agency. The Bay Area Council is working to change the formula, and submitted a letter last week to CalEPA Secretary Matt Rodriguez requesting his agency review the criteria used to allocate the money. Under the cap and trade program, 25 percent of annual funding is designated to go to so-called disadvantaged communities that suffer from exposure to serious environmental problems, including polluted air, water and soil.

However, the CalEPA formula summarily excludes areas, including in cities such as Hercules, Richmond, parts of Oakland and East Palo Alto, that by any reasonable measure would meet the definition of disadvantaged. Under the formula, the Bay Area is set to receive a puny 3 percent of the cap and trade funding to benefit disadvantaged communities although a more equitable review suggests that figure should be closer to 11 percent. The Council is joining with local and regional government agencies in appealing to the CalEPA to make the funding formula more equitable and reflective of reality. To engage in the Council’s regulatory work, contact Vice President Matt Regan.

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