Environmental Justice


We ensure that the benefits of the pLAn extend to all Angelenos.

Underserved, low-income individuals and communities often bear a far heavier burden of environmental pollution, health impacts and economic health challenges than more affluent neighborhoods. Environmental justice means no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences in our communities. The pLAn calls for specific improvements and investments to help remedy this disparity, including eliminating “food deserts,” raising air quality and improving neighborhood conditions while delivering benefits from the green economy to low-income communities.

Progress on 2017 Outcomes

Implement and expand Clean Up Green Up program by targeting the highest scoring (i.e., most impacted) CalEnviroScreen census tracts, including South L.A.

Following years of advocacy and support from community groups, the Clean Up Green Up ordinance was adopted by the City Council and signed by Mayor Garcetti in April 2016. The City hired an ombudsperson to implement the policy in June 2016. Similar environmental and land use standards are included in South L.A. Community Plans now in development.

Implement neighborhood- level air quality monitoring

A pilot program was developed and implemented with Aclima and Google in late 2016 data is currently being analyzed.

Require all city farmers markets to accept EBT

An ordinance requiring all City farmers markets to accept EBT passed in May 2016, and 55 now accept the debit card. Farmers markets that accept EBT went from 46% in 2015 to 96.4% in 2016, including those in the process of converting.



Progress on 2025 Outcomes

Reduce the number of annual childhood asthma- related emergency room visits in L.A.’s most contaminated neighborhoods to less than 14 per 1000 children in 2025

In the target’s baseline year of 2010, L.A.’s most-impacted zip codes had 31.4 emergency room visits per 1,000 children. The City- wide average was 9 visits per 1,000 children. Working with the County Department of Public Health, efforts are underway to more regularly assess progress toward this target.

Ensure all low-income Angelenos live within half mile of fresh food by 2035

EBT access at farmers markets, along with the Healthy Neighborhood Market Program, is helping more Angelenos access fresh food.

Reduce the number of census tracts in the top 10% of CalEnviroScreen by 25% in 2025

In 2016, the State of California’s Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program committed $35 million in cap-and-trade revenues to L.A. for strategies to improve the top 5% of CalEnviroScreen neighborhoods. Progress on this target will continue to grow as the City pursues additional Greenhouse Gas Reduction funds and implements other pLAn initiatives.

Where L.A. Is Leading

L.A. is the first big city to require all city farmers markets to accept EBT.

L.A. is the first city to roll out an electric vehicle carshare program designed to serve low-income residents.

Feature Story

A Fossil Fuel Watchdog for L.A.

In September 2016, Mayor Garcetti named Uduak-Joe Ntuk as the City’s new Petroleum Administrator, responsible for enforcing technical and environmental requirements of urban oil and gas operations. No one has held the job since the 1980s, though the City Charter specifically mandates it. Mayor Garcetti and the City Council moved to ll the vacancy in response to last year’s Aliso Canyon methane leak disaster and related concerns around neighborhood drilling.

Ntuk oversees the newly created Office of Petroleum and Natural Gas Administration and Safety, tasked with negotiating and overseeing the City’s pipeline franchise agreements; tracking and reporting on fossil fuel extraction, refining and transportation within the City; and monitoring compliance with City, county, state and federal regulations. Part of the Public Works Department, the petroleum office also coordinates with regional regulators, such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District and County Department of Public Health, to address concerns, nuisances and violations.


“He has the skills and background to work with our residents, industry and regulators — to help manage oil and gas activities in our neighborhoods, and play a role in steering L.A. toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti

First Ever EV Low Income Car Sharing Pilot to Reduce 4,700 Tons of CO2 a Year

The City’s EV car sharing pilot program for disadvantaged neighborhoods will help avoid the purchase of 1,000 cars–the equivalent of cutting up to an estimated 4,700 metric tons of CO2 annually–while providing critical benefits for low-income communities.


City Wins

Beating Pollution with Clean Up Green Up

Clean Up Green Up (CUGU) is turning three pollution- plagued neighborhoods into “green zones.” This set of groundbreaking ordinances imposes special land-use restrictions on businesses in Boyle Heights, Wilmington and Pacoima—communities the Los Angeles Times calls “toxic hot spots.” Citywide, CUGU requires higher-rated air filters near freeways. CUGU ombudsperson Daniel Hackney mediates between stakeholders.

Exide Clean Up in Los Angeles

Mayor Garcetti is pushing on multiple fronts to mitigate the 2015 Exide lead contamination crisis. Spanish-language PSAs, a website and library drop-in centers were created to educate residents about existing dangers, soil sampling methods and blood testing options. About 1,400 access agreements were gathered at a Boyle Heights community health fair. Expedited cleanup permits and LADWP landscaping rebates are coming soon.

Good Food Purchasing PolicyTakes Off

It was a good year for Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP). Los Angeles World Airports, with $7 million in food contracts, adopted the five-pronged purchasing standard built around sustainability, nutrition, local economies, fair labor and animal welfare. GFPP also got incorporated in the Department of Recreation and Park’s Summer Lunch Program and its Greek Theater concessions, impacting a half million meals in 2016.


Partner Wins

Creating Partnership in Neighborhood-Level Air Quality Monitoring Pilot

From August to October, two Google Street View cars equipped with Aclima’s Environmental Intelligence sensors measured air quality in select L.A. communities. The “hyper-local” readings tracked particulate numbers, black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone. Aclima and Google will share insights and maps later in 2017.

Healthy Neighborhood Market Network

Fruits and vegetables are sprouting in neighborhood markets across the City, with a helping hand from the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network. The City- sponsored project hosted three training events for 40 neighborhood market owners. Eighteen of them went on to reconfigure their shelves to focus on healthy food, with the network’s assistance.

A Climate Action Windfall for Low-Income Neighborhoods

Disadvantaged Los Angeles communities will receive $35 million in cap-and-trade revenues to spend on greenhouse gas reduction and other climate-related projects at the neighborhood level, thanks to the state’s Transformative Climate Communities Program (TCC). California’s Strategic Growth Council is now developing guidelines to implement Assembly Bill 2722, which created TCC. Fresno and a not-yet-designated city will receive similar grants.