Environmental Justice Movement Mourns the Loss of Pioneers Marie Harrison & Denny Larson

CEJC is still mourning the loss of two of its members and major pioneers of the environmental justice movement.

Denny Larson

Denny Larson

On March 6th Denny Larson, of the Community Science Institute, passed away in New Orleans where he was organizing his “buckets brigades,” a low-cost community air monitoring method he pioneered. Denny helped in fights against pollution all over the world but was especially know for his work in the East Bay Area in campaigns against Chevron in Richmond and a metal smelter in Oakland. He also took on Lumber Liquidators and their harmful use of formaldehyde it their flooring. Denny leaves behind a 10-year old daughter, donations can be made to her college fun here.

Rose Foundation article about Denny: https://rosefdn.org/in-memoriam-denny-larson/

Only two months later CEJC and the Bay Area EJ movement lost another tireless fighter for disadvantaged communities when Marie Harrison of San Francisco passed away at her Stockton home. Marie was a founding member of CEJC who worked with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice in fighting against toxic pollution and contamination near her then home in the SF neighborhood of Bayview Hunters Point.

Marie Harrison2

Marie Harrison

From the SF Chronicle: “She was a remarkable woman, a fighter and an advocate who knew how to get things done,” said colleague and friend Bradley Angel, head of the Greenaction environmental organization where Harrison worked for two decades. “She was always gracious and always true to her beliefs.” “She never compromised her principles,” he added. “She was steadfast and true.” “Marie wasn’t for sale,” said friend Raymond Tompkins, a chemist who consulted with her about soil contamination at Hunters Point. “She was all about integrity. She had a way about her. When she challenged someone on an issue, she was like a mother who caught a child with his hand in the cookie jar.” In 2006, Harrison chained herself to the front of the controversial power plant at Hunters Point. She later chained herself to the fence surrounding the Hunters Point Shipyard Superfund site. The sites were contaminated and posed health risks to parts of San Francisco largely inhabited by minorities, she and Greenaction maintained.

SF Chronicle article about Marie: https://www.sfchronicle.com/green/article/Hunters-Point-environmental-activist-Marie-13826956.php?psid=3pAq2

SF Examiner article about Marie: https://www.sfexaminer.com/the-city/city-mourns-loss-of-passionate-bayview-community-advocate-marie-harrison/

Mission Local article about Marie: https://missionlocal.org/2019/05/marie-harrison-tireless-fighter-for-environmental-justice-dies-at-71/

Greenaction’s page on Bayview Hunters Point: http://greenaction.org/bayview-hunters-point/


CEJC Meets with California’s New Secretary of Environmental Protection

On March 18th about a dozen members of CEJC met with the newly appointed Secretary for Environmental Protection, Jared Blumenfeld, and other CalEPA staff.


Secretary of Environmental Protection, Jared Blumenfeld, meets with members of CEJC

CEJC members representing the Central California Environmental Justice Network, Comite Civico del Valle, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, El Pueblo Para El Agua Y Aire Limpio de Kettleman City, Bayview Hunters Point Mothers and Fathers Committee, Californians Against Fracking and Dangerous Drilling, Rootskeeper, Fresh Air Vallejo, Valley Improvement Projects, and the Food Empowerment Project met with Secretary Blumenfeld at the California Environmental Protection Agency building in Sacramento to discuss a wide range of issues effecting EJ communities throughout the state such as air quality, toxic waste, oil and gas fence-line communities, pesticides, and Superfund Sites.

According to the CalEPA website: Jared Blumenfeld was appointed California Secretary for Environmental Protection by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019. As Secretary, Jared oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on environmental policy…From 2009 to 2016, he served under former President Barack Obama as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Pacific Southwest, a region that includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations.

CEJC hopes Secretary Blumenfeld will prioritize the public health of our state’s disadvantaged communities in his new position and continue to meet with EJ organizations and in EJ communities.


CEJC takeover of CalEPA, at least momentarily