Arvin. Santa Fe Springs. Wildomar. Buttonwillow. Vernon. Shafter. These, and many others, are the names of communities that have had their health and quality of life impacted by some of the most toxic stuff in our state: hazardous waste.
In a huge victory for these communities, the California legislature has passed Senator de León’s comprehensive reform of hazardous waste regulations, SB 812. Sponsored by Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment and worked on tirelessly by the People’s Senate, an alliance of hazardous waste impacted communities including CEJA members CCAEJ and CBE, the bill will increase regulations on hazardous waste facilities, and provide much needed community health protections.
SB 812 on the Governor’s desk and needs your support today: click here to send Governor Brown an email urging him to sign SB 812!
In Vernon and Southeast Los Angeles, chronic corporate polluter Exide has contaminated the soil of nearby homes with such high levels of lead that it must be removed, on top of sky high cancer risks from arsenic emissions. In Wildomar, residents have developed inexplicable health issues and even died after living in homes built on toxic soil. All but one of California’s hazardous waste landfills are located in low-income communities or communities of color.
The agency in charge of making sure that deadly hazardous waste isn’t harming community health or the environment, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, has routinely failed at their job. As the LA Times editorialized, “multiple reports and investigations in recent years have described a department unwilling or unable to enforce environmental laws or to properly regulate hazardous waste businesses, putting the public at risk.”