A coalition of medical, community, environmental groups in California’s San Joaquin Valley launched a campaign today to clean the region’s air and halt the skyrocketing rates of asthma, and respiratory illnesses. The campaign launch includes a full-page newspaper ad in the Fresno Bee (attached) and a website www.calcleanair.org, designed educate residents of California’s San Joaquin Valley about the Clean Air Act, and how they can help ensure the law is fully enforced.
Kevin Hall, a native of Fresno and Sierra Club air expert who helped organize the coalition described the goals of the campaign, “People in the Valley are angry and frustrated. They need good information and they want to take action. This campaign and website will provide tools for all these needs.”
“There is no denying we have a severe air pollution problem here in the San Joaquin Valley. Asthma and other upper Respitory Diseases are wreaking havoc on our Children. Especially hard hit are the farmworker and other low-income families, who also lack suitable health care coverage. This is an extremely serious health crisis with and obvious solution, strict enforcement of the Laws, and access to health care for all,” said David Granados, program manager for Latino Issues Forum in Fresno.
Dr. David Pepper of the Medical Advocates for Healthy Air said, “Filtering of dirty air should happen at the source, not in Valley residents’ lungs. Emergency rooms fill throughout the Valley on high ozone days: children and the elderly suffer disproportionately.”
Anne Harper, an attorney for Earthjustice said, “If you look at the record of the officials charged with controlling air pollution in the Valley, you’ll find that they’ve missed virtually every deadline set by the Clean Air Act. They’ve consistently dragged their feet, delayed enforcement, and provided gaping loopholes for certain industries. Meanwhile, children in Fresno are suffering from asthma at three times the national rate. Valley residents have suffered from poor air quality long enough. This campaign will give folks a chance to be heard and perhaps these agencies will finally get to work.”