Environmental Justice

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Press Release: Lawsuit Challenges Massive Southern California Warehouse Project

Press Release: Lawsuit Challenges Massive Southern California Warehouse Project

For Immediate Release, April 12, 2019

Contact:
Andrea Vidaurre, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, (951) 360-8451, andrea.v@CCAEJ.org
Kim F. Floyd, Sierra Club, (760) 680-9479, kimffloyd@fastmail.com
John Buse, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 533-4416, jbuse@biologicaldiversity.org

Lawsuit Challenges Massive Southern California Warehouse Project

3.4 MILLION SQUARE-FOOT COMPLEX WOULD POLLUTE NEIGHBORHOOD’S AIR, DESTROY HABITAT FOR RARE WILDLIFE

FONTANA, Calif.— Environmental justice and conservation groups sued the Southern California city of Fontana today for approving the West Valley Logistics Center project, a complex of industrial warehouses the size of 60 football fields that would pollute a neighborhood’s air and destroy wildlife habitat.

The warehouses would be built on open space next to a residential neighborhood and would add more than 6,000 vehicle trips per day — including 2,000 diesel trucks — to an area already plagued by dangerously poor air quality.

“The cities of Bloomington and Fontana continue to face the onslaught of diesel emissions brought forth by warehouse development, causing residents to contract asthma, respiratory illness, heart disease and birth defects,” said Andrea Vidaurre, a policy analyst at the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.

“It’s unconscionable that the city is adding to the pollution burden for this community in order to line the pockets of a developer.” The project would bulldoze critical habitat for the coastal California gnatcatcher — an imperiled bird — and destroy a wildlife corridor that allows animals to move between the Jurupa Hills and Rattlesnake Mountain.

“This project is a bad deal for people and wildlife,” said Kim Floyd, conservation chair of Sierra Club’s San Gorgonio Chapter. “City officials should be working to protect open space and provide parks instead of turning a residential neighborhood into a diesel truck route.”

Mayor Acquanetta Warren and councilmembers Jesse Armendarez and Phillip Cothran approved the project in a 3-1 vote despite strong opposition from the community, local officials and even the city’s own planning department.

“Sticking an enormous warehouse complex next to a residential neighborhood is the opposite of smart planning,” said John Buse, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This heavily polluting project would add insult to injury by paving over lands the gnatcatcher needs to recover. It’d be a major blow to these imperiled birds.”

Today’s lawsuit was filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court and challenges the city council’s failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, known as “CEQA.” The city council violated the Act by failing to accurately disclose and adequately reduce the project’s impacts on people and the environment. The groups are represented by the Law Offices of Babak Naficy.

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The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation.

The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (“CCAEJ”) operates a comprehensive suite of community engagement programs focused on reducing residents’ exposure to local pollution sources and bringing resources and amenities to low income communities of color. CCAEJ serves the Environmental Justice Communities of San Bernardino and Riverside counties in Southern California’s Inland Valley Region.


Environmental Voter Project is making an impact!

From the Environmental Voter Project:

Our planet is in crisis, yet policy-makers continue to look the other way. Why? In short, voters aren’t forcing them to face the problem. Over 10 million environmentalists sat out the 2016 presidential election, while those of us who do vote rarely list climate or the environment as a top issue. With an electorate that doesn’t prioritize the environment, it’s no mystery that policy-makers don’t either. Founded in 2015, the Environmental Voter Project is a non-partisan nonprofit focused on a simple, high-leverage solution to this problem: we (1) use data analytics to identify the millions of existing environmentalists who don’t vote, and then (2) apply cutting-edge behavioral science to nudge them into being more consistent voters. We are in the behavior-changing business, not the mind-changing business. EVP’s goal is not to change the way anybody thinks about climate or the environment. Rather, our goal is to find the already persuaded environmentalists who currently don’t vote, and turn them into consistent “super-voters” who drive policy-making at the local, state, and federal levels. Politicians go where the votes are; EVP simply focuses on making more environmental voters. Then comes the best part: once EVP turns a non-voting environmentalist into a consistent voter, campaigns and activists see the result on voter files and swoop in to mobilize that voter at no cost to us. EVP can then turn our resources to the next batch of non-voting and seldom-voting environmentalists.

View the whole report here:


Full Text Of Congress’ Green New Deal

The Full Text Of Congress’ Green New Deal Resolution, Introduced By Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez

 

116TH CONGRESS
1ST SESSION H. RES. ____

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New
Deal.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Ms. OCASIO-CORTEZ submitted the following resolution; which was referred to
the Committee on ______
RESOLUTION
Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create
a Green New Deal.

Whereas the October 2018 report entitled ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC’’ by the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report found that—

  1. human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century;
  2. a changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure
  3. global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrialized levels will cause—
    1. mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;
    2. more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year
      2100;
    3. wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western
      United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019;
    4. a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;
    5. more than 350,000,000 more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050; and
    6. a risk of damage to $1,000,000,000,000 of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the
      United States; and
  4. global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require—
    1. global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from
      2010 levels by 2030; and
    2. net-zero emissions by 2050;

Whereas, because the United States has historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions, having emitted 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions through 2014, and has a high technological capacity, the United States must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation;

Whereas the United States is currently experiencing several related crises, with—

  1. life expectancy declining while basic needs, such as clean air, clean water, healthy food, and adequate health care, housing, transportation, and education, are inaccessible to a significant portion of the United States population;
  2. a 4-decade trend of economic stagnation, deindustrialization, and antilabor policies that has led
    to—

     

    1. hourly wages overall stagnating since the 1970s despite increased worker productivity;
    2. the third-worst level of socioeconomic mobility in the developed world before the Great Recession
    3. the erosion of the earning and bargaining power of workers in the United States; and
    4. inadequate resources for public sector workers to confront the challenges of climate change
      at local, State, and Federal levels; and
  3. the greatest income inequality since the 1920s, with—
    1. the top 1 percent of earners accruing 91percent of gains in the first few years of economic
      recovery after the Great Recession;
    2. a large racial wealth divide amounting to a difference of 20 times more wealth between the average White family and the average Black family; and
    3. a gender earnings gap that results in women earning approximately 80 percent as much
      as men, at the median;

Whereas climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘systemic injustices’’) by disproportionately affecting indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’);

Whereas, climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States—

  1. by impacting the economic, environmental, and social stability of countries and communities around the world; and
  2. by acting as a threat multiplier;

Whereas the Federal Government-led mobilizations during World War II and the New Deal created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen, but many members of frontline and vulnerable communities were excluded from many of the economic and societal benefits of those mobilizations; and

Whereas the House of Representatives recognizes that a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal is a historic opportunity—

  1. to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States;
  2. to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; and
  3. to counteract systemic injustices:

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

  1. it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal—
    1. to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;
    2. to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;
    3. to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;
    4. to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—
      (i) clean air and water;
      (ii) climate and community resiliency;
      (iii) healthy food;
      (iv) access to nature; and
      (v) a sustainable environment; and
    5. to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’);
  2. the goals described in subparagraphs of paragraph (1) above (referred to in this
    resolution as the ‘‘Green New Deal goals’’) should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization (referred to in this resolution as the ‘‘Green New Deal mobilization’’) that will require the following goals and projects—

     

    1. building resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather, including by leveraging funding and providing investments for community-defined projects and strategies;
    2. repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—
      (i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible;
      (ii) by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;
      (iii) by reducing the risks posed by flooding and other climate impacts; and
      (iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;
    3. meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including—
      (i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading existing renewable power sources;  and
      (ii) by deploying new capacity;
    4. building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘‘smart’’ power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity;
    5. upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;
    6. spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;
    7. working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—
      (i) by supporting family farming;
      (ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and
      (iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;
    8.  overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—
      (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;
      (ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation; and
      (iii) high-speed rail;
    9. mitigating and managing the long-term adverse health, economic, and other effects of pollution and climate change, including by providing funding for community-defined projects and strategies;
    10. removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution, including by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as preservation and afforestation;
    11. restoring and protecting threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency;
    12. cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites to promote economic development and sustainability;
    13. identifying other emission and pollution sources and creating solutions to eliminate them; and
    14. promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal;
  3. a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and
  4. to achieve the Green New Deal goals and mobilization, a Green New Deal will require the following goals and projects—
    1. providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization;
    2. ensuring that the Federal Government takes into account the complete environmental and social costs and impacts of emissions through—
      (i) existing laws;
      (ii) new policies and programs; and
      (iii) ensuring that frontline and vulnerable communities shall not be adversely affected;
    3. providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so those communities may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization;
    4. making public investments in the research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries;
    5. directing investments to spur economic development, deepen and diversify industry in local and regional economies, and build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities that may otherwise struggle with the transition away from greenhouse gas intensive industries;
    6. ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level;
    7. ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition;
    8. guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States;
    9. strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment;
    10. strengthening and enforcing labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards across all employers, industries, and sectors;
    11. enacting and enforcing trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments with strong labor and environmental protections—
      (i) to stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas; and
      (ii) to grow domestic manufacturing in the United States;
    12. ensuring that public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and that eminent domain is not abused;
    13. obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous people for all decisions that affect indigenous people and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous people, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous people;
    14. ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies; and
    15. providing all people of the United States with—
      (i) high-quality health care;
      (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing;
      (iii) economic security; and
      (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.

Green New Deal!

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have officially unveiled the Green New Deal!

This bold resolution would put our country on the path towards a clean energy futureincluding: 

  • 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030

  • A guaranteed living-wage job for anybody who needs one

  • A just transition for both workers and frontline communities

It’s a win-win for our environment and economy, and it’s our greatest opportunity to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

Add your name right now to join DFA, Ed Markey, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in supporting a Green New Deal today.