Skip to main content

air

Ana Corona (far left), with her family in California's Central Valley.

Ozone is considered the most widespread of air pollutants. As a result, it is increasingly linked to a host of awful symptoms like asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing, low birth weight in newborns, cardiovascular episodes, short-term memory loss, and increased visits to emergency rooms and hospitals as a result. It is our children, teenagers, seniors and those with lung diseases like asthma that are especially at risk.

A zero emissions truck at the Port of Long Beach, California.

For decades, environmental and community groups have pushed back against harmful pollution from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. The neighborhoods near these ports contain some of the most toxic air in the region, with port emissions a primary culprit. Ports are also one of the leading producers of smog-forming pollution in the most ozone-polluted region in the nation. 

Jesse Marquez of the Coalition for a Safe Environment (third from left) shows EPA staffers and others a Wilmington oil refinery, shortly before the public hearing.

On a sunny Wednesday in Wilmington, California, this week, instead of spending the day at work or taking their kids to the beach, community members gathered to tell the Environmental Protection Agency what it is like living near large oil refineries. The stories kept pouring in; children who were too sick to be allowed outside, explosions that send neighbors scurrying to safety, a pre-school teacher explaining how she has to evacuate her kids when the odors get too strong, and parents who can’t afford the medicine their kids need.

A small private plane tied down next to the runway at a regional airport.

(The Right to Know Reader is a series of blog posts to educate families on the toxic chemicals in our daily lives. Earthjustice is working to enact stronger protections from these toxic chemicals for our families, communities and the environment because everyone has a right to know the truth about harmful toxins.)

During my morning commute from Oakland to San Francisco, I walk through streets of modestly sized houses with plum trees overhanging the sidewalks. My neighborhood is home to a changing mix of residents, from families who have been on the block for decades to young tech workers recently relocated from San Francisco. Cutting over to Telegraph Avenue, I pass new coffee shops, yoga studios and galleries that have sprouted up between the hardware stores and Korean restaurants lining the street.

Navajo Generating Station in Page, AZ. (Ecoflight)

We expected strong opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal for slashing emissions from the nation’s dirty power plants—the biggest contributors to climate change. But two weeks after the Obama administration rolled out its plan, the strongest reaction, so far, is from America’s people.

Haze spreads over the Central Valley on January 17, 2014. Air quality levels ranged from unhealthy to very unhealthy throughout the day.

The San Joaquin Valley Air District is once again on track to miss a federal deadline to clean up the air in the notoriously polluted air basin it serves.

While missing an air quality deadline is a blow to public health in any region, it is particularly devastating in the San Joaquin Valley. The valley experiences higher levels of poverty and unemployment than the rest of California, all while being exposed to outrageous levels of pollution and suffering from the resulting health impacts.

Pages

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.