Reach the Decisionmakers

Examples of Possible "Reach" Projects


Each team will choose their own policy project as the basis of their engagement with the California State Government at an in-person Sacramento, CA meeting or other location as appropriate. We provide the following examples of possible team projects. Teams are also allowed to create their own project. Although we ask what projects you're interesting in working on in the Reach application, projects aren't decided on until the program begins and the team collectively decides what they'll work on.


  • Make recommendations for the Community Air Protection Program Blueprint 2.0: The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently released a Community Air Protection Program Blueprint 2.0 that aims to reduce air pollution risks in environmental justice communities. Fellows will make recommendations to CARB that strengthen the implementation of this program and ensure stronger health protections for communities with high exposure burden.


  • Make a recommendation regarding ethylene oxide use in the UC System: Ethylene oxide, a potent carcinogen and petrochemical, is commonly used as a sterilizing agent in the manufacturing of medical equipment. Ethylene oxide releases to the environment often disproportionately impact low income and communities of color. Recent evidence suggests that ethylene oxide is being used by the UC System. Fellows will recommend that CARB evaluate and provide potential mitigation strategies for ethylene oxide use and potential environmental releases by the UC system. Fellows will also recommend that the California State Government to convene an expert panel to assess chemical hazards in hospitals and determine: the most prevalent chemicals, chemicals posing the greatest health and economic costs, exposure sources, patients and hospital units at greatest risk, and regulatory and policy options for CalEPA to address these risks. See:


  • Work with WPS to protect agricultural communities: The California State Government’s Worker Protection Standard (WPS) aims to protect the health and safety of workers in the agricultural sector. Fellows will meet with WPS to ensure the reproductive health and safety of workers in the agricultural sector, including advocating for statewide reporting of all pesticides applied by professional applicators in schools of all levels of education, including day care centers.


  • Meet with OEHHA to advocate for farmworkers: Organophosphate pesticides (OPs), a toxic class of chemicals linked to acute poisoning and neurodevelopmental harm, are widely used across the State of California. Farmworkers often experience dangerous levels of exposure to multiple OPs, and worker protections are poorly enforced. Fellows will meet with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and farmworker rights advocacy groups to recommend a cumulative human health risk assessment for evaluating the risk to farmworkers from exposure to multiple organophosphate pesticides.


  • Meet with DTSC on microplastic regulation: Microplastics, or small plastic particles that are generated from the degradation of plastics in the environment, have contaminated virtually every environmental compartment, including air, water, soil, and living organisms. A recent systematic review found that exposure to microplastics is linked to reproductive and digestive health harms, including certain types of cancers. The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) recently proposed to list microplastics to their Candidate Chemicals List, which would trigger downstream regulation. Fellows would meet with DTSC to advance this proposed regulation around microplastics in the State of California.


  • Make recommendations regarding CO2 pipelines: “Circular Economy” companies are receiving permits for CO2 pipelines and storing CO2 underground. One current controversy around potential permitting for CO2 pipelines in the Sacramento Delta is around growing concerns over leaks and other environmental impacts. In 2022, the State of California passed legislation that instructed CARB to create a carbon capture program, and a decision by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on whether that program can permit carbon capture pipelines is expected to be released in 2024. Participants will work with academic and NGO scientific partners to make recommendations to CARB and PHMSA on policy strategies to reduce potentially harmful exposures from CO2 pipelines. See:


  • Conduct a drought analysis of domestic wells: The drought threats for low-income rural households are significant, with implications for Environmental Justice, and worse, contamination exposures in the drinking water of these communities. Work with a Water Equity Science Shop (WESS) doctoral student to conduct a drought analysis of domestic wells in California.  The goal is to influence policy discussions about Strategic Groundwater Management Agencies around groundwater sustainability plans.