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Santa Ana Takes Bold Action in Addressing Climate and Justice Inequalities

Santa Ana recently made a groundbreaking commitment in its 2024 budget to allocate $750,000 to fund a Climate Action Plan (CAP). This is a huge step for Santa Ana, demonstrating the city’s commitment to tackling climate and justice inequalities.

Santa Ana’s commitment to climate action aligns with statewide and national efforts to receive a surplus in historic funding opportunities.

The City understands the urgency and importance of tackling these inequalities head-on. Over half of the city’s communities are designated Environmental Justice (EJ) communities by the EPA, bearing an immense pollution burden and facing the impacts of climate change daily.

What is an EJ community? As defined by the city, it’s an area where residents have the highest risk of exposure to pollution in the water, air, and soil. Socioeconomic and health issues, such as high poverty and asthma, heavily burden these residents.

Unfortunately, EJ communities, historically, have the lowest rates of investments and improvements from local agencies and governments. This means that, while wealthier communities get support and funding for development like parks, EJ communities are forced to suffer the burden of environmental pollution daily without any support.

A study carried out by Orange County Environmental Justice (OCEJ) analyzed the soil across the city. Out of 1555 soil samples tested, 811 samples tested unsafe for children due to lead content. That’s over 50% of the samples.

The groups most at risk for living in the areas with the dangerous soil and at the highest risk for soil lead poisoning? People of color, residents with lower income status, renters, residents without health insurance, residents with immigrant status, residents with limited English proficiency, and Latinx residents.

Santa Ana residents deserve clean air, clean water, and a healthy and safe future. The funding allocated in the budget for climate action allows the City to develop a Climate Action Plan that will act as a pathway to combat climate change, protect our communities from its impacts, and ensure that future policies are equity-centered. By prioritizing justice and sustainability, Santa Ana is setting an example for neighboring Orange County cities.

If you are interested in staying up to date as Santa Ana begins to draft its CAP, and in advocating for a climate-safe, just Santa Ana for all, sign up for our email list here, or email to get connected to community organizers.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

Climate Action Plans (CAPs) are roadmaps to a safer, healthier, and more equitable future. With clear implementation plans, they provide a concrete strategy for mitigating the effects of climate change and protecting the health and safety of residents. By breaking down the strategies and actions into specific tasks with timelines, responsibilities, and measurable benchmarks, we can hold our local leaders to their promises and ensure actual change happens in our communities.

CAPs provide an opportunity for local jurisdictions to capitalize on historic funding opportunities. By adopting bold CAPs, cities, and counties can access state and federal funding to invest in renewable energy, green infrastructure, and equity-centered solutions.

A strong CAP can be a model of bold, equitable climate solutions able to be scaled and replicated at all levels of government.

How do Climate Action Plans Work?

How will a Climate Action Plan help injustice issues?

Does my City Have a Climate Action Plan?

How Can I Help Advocate for a Climate Action Plan in my City?

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