Climate Action Planning Framework (CAP Framework) for the Gateway Cities Council of Governments
Monday, May 15, 2017
The Gateway Cities are twenty-seven cities and additional unincorporated communities in Southeastern Los Angeles County, totaling about 2 million residents. For over twenty years, these jurisdictions have collaborated through the Gateway Cities Council of Governments (COG) on plans and projects related to transportation, air quality, housing, and economic development. The COG office is centrally located in the member city of Paramount.
About three-quarters of the Gateway Cities residents live in census tracts designated as “disadvantaged communities” according to CalEnviroScreen.1 While our communities are vibrant and resilient, our region suffers from persistent high poverty levels and unemployment rates; linguistic isolation and low levels of educational attainment in some communities; a loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs over the past two decades; and the environmental impacts of being the hub for a large portion of the nation’s goods movement through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
1 The California Office of Environmental Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) CalEnviroScreen tool is used to identify disadvantaged communities in the state. See https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen/report/calenviroscreen-30.
According to the California Energy Commission, “Local governments play a critical role in helping California meet its energy and climate goals. They have a unique connection with their constituents and jurisdictions over building and land use decisions.” Many of our cities are undertaking early steps towards climate action. Some are members of utility-based local government partnerships, while others are members of the Institute for Local Government’s Beacon Climate Action and Sustainability Program, and some participate in energy efficiency projects through The Energy Network. There is some overlap of participation among these programs, as shown in Exhibit 1 (exhibits are presented at the end of this document). However, very few of our cities have adopted a Climate Action Plan.
It is important to note that we have a wide diversity of city sizes and capacities in our region. Our largest city is Long Beach, with a population of close to half a million; our smallest city, Vernon, has a residential population of about 100, and is home to many industrial facilities that help power our region economically. Many of our cities are very small and have a limited capacity to serve residents with a great deal of need. In fact, it is these capacity limitations that have kept many of our members from turning to climate planning; they are simply dealing with more immediate and pressing public priorities.
The Gateway Cities have previously adopted plans related to GHG reduction. In 2011 the COG member cities voluntarily prepared a subregional Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), as allowed under SB 375. The SCS documented land use and transportation projects and strategies that cumulatively would help the six-county SCAG region meet the regional GHG reduction targets assigned by the state (although those targets did not apply at the subregional level). In 2016 the COG Board approved a Strategic Transportation Plan (STP), which is a long-range, multi-modal plan laying out the region’s transportation needs. The STP identifies numerous projects that would reduce GHG emissions as they are individually and collectively implemented. Both of these plans demonstrate the Gateway Cities’ commitment to addressing GHG reductions through land use and transportation strategies.
In addition, the Gateway Cities COG Board in November 2016 passed a resolution (see Exhibit 2) regarding the region’s readiness to work with the state to constructively invest cap and trade funds in our region for the benefit of our many disadvantaged communities and to assist the state in its policy goals to reduce GHG emissions.