Environmental Justice Leaders Across California Head to Sacramento To Tell Policy Makers ‘Stop Protecting Polluters’

For more information:

California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC) email <cejcoalition@gmail.com>

Tom Helme, CEJC Coordinator, Valley Improvement Projects, (209) 589-9277

 For immediate release, August 19, 2016

 ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE LEADERS ACROSS CALIFORNIA HEAD TO SACRAMENTO; TELL POLICY MAKERS ‘STOP PROTECTING POLLUTERS’

 Statewide Coalition of More Than 50 Organizations Representing Urban, Rural and Indigenous Communities Demand Accountability and Justice for Vulnerable Populations

 SACRAMENTO, CA – Scores of environmental justice and community leaders from 56 organizations will be in Sacramento, California from August 20 through August 22 to educate the California Legislature and State Environmental Agencies about the need to massively reform state laws and practices that favor corporate and government polluters over the health and safety of communities.

While in the capital, members of the California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC) will hold a weekend conference to share information, strategies and best practices for winning toxic cleanup, environmental and cultural preservation, community resilience and other shared CEJC goals.

“Environmental justice policy in California is in crisis,” explained CEJC Coordinator Thomas Helme. “We are converging in Sacramento united in our urgent demand for a comprehensive plan to repair the vast disparities in environmental health and justice felt by the most exposed and vulnerable people in our state’s urban, rural, and indigenous communities.”

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CEJC member groups will also take special note of recent environmental justice victories, such as the federal civil rights settlement reached with state regulators, and setbacks, including deficient hazardous waste permits issued for facilities up and down the state.

Marylia Kelley, of Tri-Valley CAREs in Livermore, will highlight her group’s challenge of a “shockingly lax permit” issued by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for a nuclear weapons lab on EPA’s Superfund list. And, Maricela Mares-Alatorre, with El Pueblo/People for Clean Air & Water of Kettleman City will lead a workshop for CEJC on the historic civil rights settlement reached this month by her group and Greenaction. Mares-Alatorre said, “My goal is to help every community use this victory so that their members can participate in DTSC public processes at a more meaningful and equitable level.”

Culminating the activists’ “2016 Days of Action” will be meetings with many of California’s top lawmakers and key agencies, including CalEPA, DTSC, and the Air Resources Board, on Monday, August 22. “Policy makers and regulators listen to the grassroots leaders on the frontlines of pollution and injustice because no one knows better what is really going on in our communities. CEJC member groups are amazing ‘watchdogs’ with unmatched on-the-ground expertise,” noted Bradley Angel of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.

“CEJC brings about systemic change by uncompromisingly following the Principles of environmental Justice; promoting unity and solidarity; using community-based knowledge; and strengthening community leadership,” added Luis Olmedo, of Comite Civico del Valle.

The California Environmental Justice Coalition was founded in November of 2014 in Kettleman City. The “2016 Days of Action” will mark the coalition’s second 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.

For a list of member groups, see https://cejcoalition.org/cejcmembers/Additional information, including campaigns, is at cejcoalition.org.

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MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES:  The media are welcome to observe proceedings and interview CEJC community leaders during the CEJCSunday morning conference session, August 21, 2016, at the Capitol Event Center, 1020 11th Street, in Sacramento from 9:45 AM to 11 AM. Media are also invited to attend the CEJC briefing with top environmental agency officials on Monday, August 22, 2016, at the Coastal Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the Cal/EPA building at 1001 I Street in Sacramento from 11 AM-12:30 PM. Interviews with individual CEJC organizations in advance is encouraged.

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