As a result of the Governor’s signature on AB 841 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), new green jobs are on the horizon that will not only put people back to work, but also lead to healthier schools and a greener transportation sector.
“Many Californians are struggling right now, and we need job creation. My bill jumpstarts projects that can begin in a matter of months and pay good wages, providing stability to families and helping the state’s economic recovery,” said Ting.
AB 841 has two components. First, it temporarily redirects unspent energy efficiency funds from investor-owned utility companies and creates a grant program for schools in need of upgrading their HVAC systems and water fixtures. Poor ventilation is known to have negative impacts on student health and learning. And since the onset of COVID-19, experts recommend increasing the air flow in public schools to reduce the spread of the virus. Campuses in low-income communities would receive first priority.
In addition, grants can be used to replace old plumbing ducts, which often leech lead into students’ drinking water. New pipes will also improve water conservation, saving up to six billion gallons a year.
"Now is precisely the time California should be improving access to clean air and water in our schools," said Merrian Borgeson, a senior scientist at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "Our children deserve to learn in safe schools, and this new program will make that possible."
The second component of AB 841 pertains to the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, requiring the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to act on long-pending applications by March 1, 2021. The current years-long backlog is slowing work orders, and faster approvals would increase the demand for EVs. Consumers have often said they won’t switch to a cleaner car because there are not enough charging stations along our roads. Added locations would help more drivers overcome “range anxiety” and make the transition – a move that lowers our greenhouse gas emissions and ramps up our fight against global warming.
AB 841 takes effect January 1, 2021, achieving a priority from the Joint Economic Stimulus Plan unveiled in July – to improve the environment, combat climate change, and create green infrastructure and jobs.
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