“California Environmental Justice Coalition to Meet in Sacramento for Third Statewide Conference”
Statewide Coalition of 66 Organizations, including Tri-Valley CAREs, Represents Urban, Rural and Indigenous Communities; Coalition Will Demand Improvements to California’s Environmental Justice, Civil Rights, and Language Access
Contact: California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC) firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Helme, CEJC Coordinator, Valley Improvement Projects, (209) 324-6414; Bradley Angel, CEJC Co-Founder, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, (415) 722-5270; or Marylia Kelley, Executive Director at Tri-Valley CAREs, a CEJC Co-Founding group with membership in Alameda and San Joaquin Counties, (925) 255-3589 (cell while on travel)
SACRAMENTO, CA – Over one hundred environmental justice and community leaders from dozens of organizations will be in Sacramento, California on August 12 and August 13 to hold their third statewide gathering. On Monday, August 14, CEJC will testify and present to the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Toxic Substances Control community-based recommendations for what should be included in their Civil Rights and Language Access Policies that the department must adopt by December of this year.
As a result years of organizing and advocacy, and our successful civil rights complaint, CalEPA and DTSC officials will have to listen to the concerns of the state’s environmental justice communities and those most vulnerable and affected by harmful pollution and environmental racism,” stated Bradley Angel of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, a CEJC co-founder.
Last year an historic Civil Rights complaint settlement was reached between DTSC, its parent agency CalEPA, and CEJC groups Greenaction and El Pueblo para el Aire y Aqua Limpia de Kettleman City (People for Clean Air and Water of Kettleman City).
The complaint was filed with the US EPA after Spanish-speaking residents in Kettleman City were only given half the time to comment about a drastic expansion of the Chemical Waste Management Inc. hazardous waste landfill in the small, mostly farmworker community.
Recently, 36 environmental justice, community and social justice organizations across the state, many from CEJC, submitted their recommendations regarding what DTSC must include in the civil rights and language access policies they are developing in order to comply with environmental justice and civil rights mandates and laws.
Maricela Mares-Alatorre, of El Pueblo para el Aire y Aqua Limpia de Kettleman City, also a CEJC co-founder stated, “This meeting is a proactive approach to working with regulating agencies in a way that will bring about systematic change.”
The hearing will come after a 2-day conference of over 100 CEJC members and allies who will plan the expansion of the coalition’s influence as well as its priorities and goals for the future. Members will also discuss the potential outcome of DTSC’s new policies, the recent Cap-and-Trade bill, and the attack on environmental protections expected from the Trump administration.
“In the face of adversity from the new federal administration, CEJC seeks to maintain its frontrunner status in policy, which is represented by over 60 grassroots community organizations aiming to uphold the Principles of Environmental Justice,” said Humberto Lugo of CEJC co-founder organization Comite Civico del Valle in the Imperial Valley.
The California Environmental Justice Coalition was founded in November of 2014 in Kettleman City. The 2017 Statewide Conference will mark the coalition’s third statewide gathering. Led by people of color and low-income communities, CEJC is a broad, inclusive, grassroots statewide coalition of small and large groups uniting urban, rural and indigenous communities in resistance against environmental racism and injustice, and committed to environmental, social, and economic justice. CEJC welcomes longstanding environmental justice organizations and newcomers alike.
CEJC members and community leaders will be available for media interviews upon request after the CalEPA/DTSC hearing at the numbers listed above.
Eric Luna, a member of the SJC Green Party Council and a member of the California Green Party Coordinating Committee, will represent the greens at this historic meeting. Interviews with Eric are available on request.