Landmark Department of Toxic Substances Control Reform Signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in Bell Gardens

Almost $1 Billion in Cleanup for Hazardous Sites

For immediate release:

(Bell Gardens) – Yesterday Governor Gavin Newsom visited Bell Gardens and signed SB 158, which reforms the Depart-ment of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). SB 158 starts high-level actions to reset DTSC into a department that is more transparent, accountable, and more protective of public health. This bill implements recommendations of a 2017 Independent Review Panel that provided recommendations, including assuring adequate fiscal assurances, bringing financial stability, creating a board to improve transparency and accountability, improving financial assurance requirements, and creating a modern hazardous waste management plan. This landmark trailer bill also includes $500 million over the next 3 years for brownfield clean up and $322.4 million for the cleanup of the community surrounding the Exide Technology Facility. Additionally, the Legislature recently passed AB 128 that included $131.4 million for Exide Cleanup. In total, these two budget actions ensures that no homes around the Exide facility will be left behind and every home will be cleaned up.

“This landmark DTSC reform will ensure we have a department that truly prioritizes the health and well-being of low income communities of color who have been treated like wastelands for too long and give DTSC the appropriate fiscal resources to do their critical work long-term. This reform and the nearly $1 billion for toxics clean up, begins to ensure that future generations of black and brown children are safe and NOT treated like they are disposable. These reforms fully reshape DTSC into a department that will prevent the next Exide and can oversee the management of hazardous waste in California in a transparent manner that fully protects all communities and public health, irrespective of our zip code or socioeconomic status,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens).

“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.”

“Yesterday was the culmination of years of work with the IRP, AB 995(2019-2020), and AB 1(2021-2022); it was a special day for me and the community members to have an intimate gathering at my parent’s house with Governor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Hilda Solis to discuss how living in an overburdened community affects our daily lives. Having the Governor in my strong, resilient community and showing him toxic, empty lots and having him temporarily experience the affects of the lack of investments first hand and the generational changes this bill will have, a great day for the South East,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens).

The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.