The Southern California region is home to upwards of 23.6 million people. Los Angeles County alone is home to almost 10 million people and roughly 1.3 million of them live in poverty; many reside in areas categorized as disadvantaged and low-income communities. Across the greater Southern California region, those numbers grow even higher.
Such communities have been disproportionately impacted by the negative environmental impacts of fossil fuel consumption and also left out of many of the benefits of California’s growing green economy.
Southern California is home to a widespread network of community-based organizations (CBOs), environmental groups, and environmental justice (EJ) organizations that can maximize the likelihood that the benefits of a green hydrogen economy flow to disadvantaged and low-income communities. These groups could work with technology developers, academia, and industry to support adoption of the following principles by the new hydrogen economy:
Empowerment: Identify and engage community-based and environmental justice groups in a meaningful and ongoing way that gives them a voice in how the market develops.
Inclusion: Include participants from disadvantaged and low-income communities through consent-based siting, Community Benefits Agreements, participatory monitoring, community meetings, hiring and contracting, and engagement of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates from Minority- and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
Targeted Benefits: Focus first on displacing fossil emissions in congested areas such as ports, while creating new jobs and workforce development programs.
Led by AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles and over 150 diverse organizations, Southern California stakeholders are in active discussion about the structure of a green hydrogen “cluster” centered around the Los Angeles Basin that would organize the region’s participation in the state-wide application to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The goal of these discussions is to build an inclusive coalition that includes members from industry, academia, labor, community-based and environmental justice groups, and organizations across the hydrogen value chain—from production and transport to storage, local distribution, and end uses.