Councilmember Huizar chaired the City’s Energy & Environment Committee in 2012 and 2013. He received the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters Environmental Champion Award and the Sierra Club’s Political Leadership Award for his efforts to usher in environmentally sound policies including to expand the City’s recycling efforts in commercial and apartment buildings by 2017, transition the City of Los Angeles to cleaner, renewable energy, and to make the City coal-free by 2025.
Plastic Bag Ban Prevents Two Billion Bags from Polluting City
As Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee, Councilmember Huizar led the city in its historic decision to become the largest city in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags. The shift to reusable bags eliminates nearly two billion single-use plastic bags per year, preventing litter from ending up in our waterways and beaches. The City’s plastic bag ban cleared the way for the statewide ban on plastic bags, signed into law in October 2014. As part of the shift to reusable shopping bags, the Councilmember demanded the City to embark on consumer education and the distribution of thousands of free reusable bags.
Expanding Solar Power for Los Angeles
Under Councilmember Huizar’s leadership, the City approved two of the largest solar projects in the country, which will provide 5% of L.A.’s power by 2016. These solar projects will prevent about 955,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to removing 184,000 cars from the road annually. In addition, Councilmember Huizar fought successfully for the launch of the Clean LA Solar Program, the largest solar program of its kind in the U.S., which makes solar available to many more customers and is helping grow the local solar industry.
Commercial Waste Hauling Overhaul Will Dramatically Increase Recycling
Seventy percent of our City’s landfill-bound waste comes from commercial properties. Thanks to Councilmember Huizar’s leadership, recycling will soon be available to all residents and businesses in L.A. The City has established a new Waste Hauling Exclusive Franchise policy that will set and enforce environmental and service standards, make prices fairer, improve working conditions, and require clean-fuel trucks. Through this system, recycling service will be available to commercial properties on par with the City’s outstanding curbside recycling for single-family homes, which is recognized as the best such program of any big City in the nation.
Bike & Pedestrian-Friendly Policies for Greener Communities
Councilmember Huizar is also a leading advocate for bike and pedestrian-friendly policies, which aim to make our streets work for people and not just for cars. This “complete streets” approach will reduce our dependence on the car, expand mobility options, cut pollution, and protect our environment. Council District 14 has installed state-of-the-art safety infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians, such as dedicated bike lanes and bike corrals, and flashing crosswalks and new, expanded sidewalks.
‘Clean Up Green Up’ Makes Boyle Heights Businesses Environmentally Sound
Councilmember Huizar championed the Clean Up Green Up campaign, which is launching in Boyle Heights and aims to prevent toxic hotspots by providing assistance to businesses to “green” their existing operations. For decades, Boyle Heights has borne more than its share of dangerous air pollution and toxic exposure. Now it’s time to make Boyle Heights a center of innovation, through concentrated incentive funding, coordinated enforcement, and high standards for new environmentally-friendly businesses.
Protecting Northeast Hillsides
Councilmember Huizar helped establish a hillside ordinance for the communities of El Sereno, Hermon, Lincoln Heights and Monterey Hills. The ordinance was supported by fire officials, environmentalists and residents with the aim to stop unchecked development and protect the safety and integrity of hillside property owners. The ordinance limits the amount of dirt that can be safely removed, as well as places ceilings on building and retaining wall heights and square footage for new construction.
Creating Parks for Families and Saving Space for Nature
By creating more than 100 acres of new open space or parkland, Councilman Huizar is turning a park-poor district into a park-rich district. Every area of the District is seeing improvements in park space, whether it is fighting back development of Elephant Hill in El Sereno; breaking ground for new parks in Eagle Rock, the Arts District, and Civic Center; directing funds to green space throughout Downtown; or investing in improvements to Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights.
Councilmember Huizar stands up for – and with – CD14 Neighborhoods:
- Successfully fought proposed Vernon Power Plant on behalf of Boyle Heights’ community.
- Demanding third-party inspections and clean up of led, arsenic and other cancer-causing chemicals from Exide Technologies battery recycling facility in Vernon. Since the Councilmember began holding public hearings on this issue in 2013, new rules have been developed to control pollution from Exide and its "temporary" permits to release toxic emissions are under new scrutiny.
- Opposed Glendale’s proposed expansion of the Scholl Canyon Landfill, which negatively affects adjacent Eagle Rock community.
- Permanently protected Elephant Hill in El Sereno. When development threatened this natural open space, Councilman Huizar fought back, and eventually won the purchase of this land. It will now be held in the public trust by the Mountains and Recreation Conservation Authority.
- Planted hundreds of street trees to keep our neighborhoods vibrant and beautiful.