News

This page features excerpts from news about environmental justice advocacy in the San Joaquin Valley and links to their original sources. Use the features on the right to sort by topic, news source, date, key word or author. You may also subscribe to receive the news by e-mail or through an rss reader. Please note that links to original sources may expire over time.

In Parts Of California Blanketed With Wildfire Smoke, Breathing Is ‘A Chore’

Debbie Dobrosky noticed a peculiar hue in the sky on August 6 — “a very ugly yellow casting” — as she peeked outside. A large cloud of smoke had begun to cover the sun. By the next day, the smoke was so heavy that “even inside my apartment I’ve had to use my inhaler twice this morning, which is not a normal thing,” says Dobrosky, a Riverside County, Calif., resident who lives about 30 miles from a fast-growing fire in the Cleveland National Forest…

Federal judicial panel bans the pesticide chlorpyrifos

In a decision that surprised many, a federal court released a decision Thursday ordering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to effectively ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. In a two-to-one vote, a panel of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit judges “vacated” the EPA’s 2017 decision, under administrator Scott Pruitt, that the pesticide would continue to be allowed to be sprayed on crops…

Bad air quality in Kern County: causes and effects

Air quality levels in Bakersfield have been hovering around the ‘unhealthy’ mark all summer. Contributors to the smog include the consistent triple-digit temperatures, car exhaust–and most prominently, the more than dozen wildfires blazing across the state. “When we have a wildfire, the impact of the smoke is very significant, and we would encourage anybody to stay indoors,” said Christal Martinez from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District…

Air District needs to be clearer about health threats in Valley’s polluted air

The sight of high school football players dashing across smoky fields on an August morning was shocking. Even more surprising were the words from coaches and athletic directors from local school districts who explained to one TV news reporter that all was fine. True, if we’re talking fine particulates. The air was filled with “fine” that day, as were the lungs of young athletes, with smoke from the deadly, weeks-old Ferguson Fire now trapped on the Valley floor…

Transition to Renewable Energy: Legislation Puts Clean Air and Vulnerable Communities First

A number of California’s natural gas power plants are located in low-income communities of color. For decades, these communities have unjustly carried the burden of powering our state and paid the highest price — their health — for dirty energy. The good news is that, according to an analysis just released by the Union of Concerned Scientists, California can retire a significant amount of natural gas generation because it is no longer needed…

California Brings Benefits of Solar Power to Low-Income Residents

Despite the Trump administration’s quest to invalidate California’s authority to enforce stricter rules on greenhouse gas emissions, California continues to lead the pack in reducing its carbon footprint through its cap-and-trade program. The program “caps” the amount of carbon dioxide emissions while allowing companies to “trade” surplus allowances to other businesses that surpass emission limits. Companies are able to purchase allowances at monthly auctions that have generated $4.4 billion in state revenue since 2012…

Unhealthy air levels send athletes indoors, others looking for the right kind of mask

Air quality in Fresno hit the highest unhealthy level on Monday, fueled by smoke from six fires in California, including the Ferguson Fire that has burned into Yosemite National Park. “This is unusual and remarkable and unpleasant,” said Jaime Holt, a spokeswoman for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. The district’s air monitor in central Fresno recorded a RAAN Level 5 — the most unhealthy level for a one-hour reading. And the monitor in Clovis recorded a Level 4, the second-highest reading…

California Groundwater Law Means Big Changes Above Ground, Too

The state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is likely to result in fallowing thousands of acres of farmland. Local governments are just waking up to the big opportunities, and risks, in how that land gets reused…

Healthy Soil is Ground Zero for Environmental Justice in Farm Communities

Protecting the health and diversity of soil microbes in California’s Central Valley is also the first step to protecting the health and diversity of the region’s inhabitants…

2018 California Voter Survey on National Monuments and Public Lands

A statewide survey of California voters, commissioned by the non-profit Hispanic Access Foundation and conducted by David Binder Research, finds that more than three in four Californians (78 percent) oppose actions taken by President Donald Trump to remove protections from about 2 million acres of public lands that were previously declared national monuments. Only 18 percent support his decision…