Clean Air in the San Joaquin Valley:
Check out our current campaign to Stand for Clean Air in the San Joaquin Valley!
CRPE Protects the Valley’s Most Vulnerable Residents by making the Largest Polluters Abide by the Clean Air Act
GOAL: Achieve healthy air in the San Joaquin Valley
BACKGROUND:The San Joaquin Valley of California ranks among the most polluted air basins in the nation. The American Lung Association ranks the four San Joaquin Valley counties in the top ten most polluted counties in the US: Kern is ranked 2nd, Tulare 3rd, Fresno is 6th and Kings is at the 9th position. Despite these alarming numbers, State and Federal air quality regulators have repeatedly failed to provide the three million residents of the Valley with air quality that meets Federal health-based standards.
Not only is the Valley host to poor air, but also home to high poverty levels. If the Valley were a state, it would rank behind only Mississippi in poverty. The 2000 census found that Tulare, Fresno, Merced, Madera, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus counties ranked 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 19, and 23 among California's 58 counties in terms of the highest poverty rates. Poor Valley residents, especially children living in poverty, are more likely to lack access to health care, only worsening the air pollution's lasting effect of Valley residents and communities.
Despite the obvious need for improved air, In the San Joaquin Valley, State, Federal and local politicians have failed miserably to deliver clean air by the deadlines set forth in the Clean Air Act. The Valley Air Quality Project seeks to force these captured regulators to adhere to their duty to protect public health, and not polluters. CRPE works with community groups to enhance their participation in the political process, and brings lawsuits on clients' behalf when government fails the people. CRPE targets the largest and most under regulated polluters: dairies, pesticides, diesel trucks, and diesel agricultural equipment.
LEGAL FIGHTS FOR AIR QUALITY IN THE VALLEY
In 2004, CRPE’s Valley clients El Comité para el Bienestar de Earlimart and AIR sued the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Air Resources Board to force them to honor their 1995 promise to cut pesticide air pollution by 20% from 1990 levels by 2005. El Comité won in district court and the court ordered the Department and ARB to adopt regulations. Even though the Ninth Circuit later reversed the court victory on a technicality, the regulations remain. CRPE is working now to ensure that the Department does not weaken these regulations.