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Assessing the flow to low-income urban areas of conservation and environmental funds approved by California's Proposition 84.

07:00 EST 7th February 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Assessing the flow to low-income urban areas of conservation and environmental funds approved by California's Proposition 84."

Government funding accounts for a large proportion of conservation and environmental improvements, and is often the result of citizen votes on state ballot measures. A key concern surrounding public investments in the environment is whether that funding serves lower-income communities, which are often the communities of greatest need. We applied three statistical methods to analyze the spatial distribution of conservation funding derived from California's Proposition 84, which distributed nearly $4 billion across California between 2006 and 2015. First, we used hurdle models to ask if income, population density, urban coverage, or pollution could explain receipt of grants or magnitude of funding. Second, we compared the income levels of funded and unfunded communities for each chapter of the proposition. Finally, we examine two sections of the proposition that were intended to fund parks around the state and compare the attributes of funded and unfunded communities. Proposition 84 offers lessons for environmental legislation and future research. While there were general tendencies for more funding to flow to poor areas and areas with pollution problems, the language in Proposition 84 as a whole was vague with respect to the funding of disadvantaged areas, and as a result the targeting of these areas overall was at best modest. However, when enabling legislation (AB 31) defined specific "metrics of disadvantage" that had to be met by communities to receive funds from some sections of Proposition 84, the funds did flow much more selectively to poorer communities. This suggests that future ballot measures should be very explicit in their language if they want to promote equity in conservation investments, and that future research should investigate the extent to which technical workshops and outreach could further increase the number of funded grant proposals from low-income communities.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0211925

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