Thank you for reading The Frontline Observer. Here are some important news stories you can’t miss.
AQMD passes air quality management plan
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) adopted their Air Quality Management Plan on Dec.2. Officials say the plan is the strongest regional clean air blueprint to date and the first to pursue zero-emission technology to reduce deadly pollution.
The plan aims to reduce smog-forming pollution by 2037 and will avoid 1,500 premature deaths and thousands more hospital visits related to respiratory issues.
While mostly praised for their plan, environmental organizations remain concerned about the agency’s use of ‘Black Box’ air reduction measures, which are not clearly defined and theoretical.
Residents concerned that San Bernardino Airport development plan will be built at their expense
Local residents and community groups are voicing concerns over the proposed Airport Gateway Specific Plan (AGSP or Specific Plan) – the multi-city and agency, commercial and industrial project that aims to rezone and transition residential and local lots to expand the San Bernardino Airport’s logistics operations.
The Specific Plan aims to rezone approximately 679 acres of land in Highland and San Bernardino that sit near the airport to create a “Mixed Use Business Park.” About 9.3 million square feet is slated for industrial development and up to 75,000 square feet (or 150 rooms) for hotel space, according to the draft Environmental Impact Report released by the Inland Valley Development Agency. Five thousand jobs are also expected to be created from future development tied to the plan.
About 2,471 residents living in an estimated 760 residential units may be displaced for the land transition to occur, the IVDA forecasts in the project’s draft plan.
A conceptual housing relocation plan for compliance has been added to the EIR, according to IVDA officials. The document states that any future developer who builds at the airport must comply with existing state and federal laws related to housing relocation. Developers will be required to provide robust information on a project's timeline, give detailed scheduling of potential displacements and layout specific relocation benefits, according to guidelines in the conceptual plan.
Read the full story here.
Local organizer honored by AQMD for environmental justice advocacy
Inland Empire-based community organizer Angie Balderas will be given the William Burke Environmental Justice Award by the SCAQMD during a ceremony on Friday Jan. 6.
Balderas, who organizers with the Sierra Club My Generation campaign and sits on the board of the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice (PC4EJ), will be honored along with U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), the Watts Clean Air & Energy Committee and Andy Fung of the Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement.
The event is free for the public, but registration is required. To register, visit www.CleanAirAwards.com or call (909) 396-2432.
Groups sue developer over Bloomington Business Park Specific Plan
Local environmental justice and conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal court on Dec. 16 -- arguing that Howard Industrial Partners, the developer of the recently approved 213-acre Bloomington Business Park Specific Plan, and the County of San Bernardino failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.
The plaintiffs -- the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), People’s Collective for Environmental Justice (PC4EJ), Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the Sierra Club San Gorgonio chapter -- say that Howard Industrial Partners and the county failed to adequately analyze environmental impacts, accurately evaluate greenhouse gas emissions impacts and consider cumulatively considerable impacts. “For these and other reasons, the certified FEIR is procedurally and substantively defective,” reads a letter from Earthjustice.
David Wert, a spokesperson with the County of San Bernardino, told 360Law that officials will examine the lawsuit and take appropriate action. Wert also said the Howard Industrial Partners is responsible for the costs and burdens associated with the outcome of the lawsuit.
The Frontline Observer contributor Sadie Scott spoke to residents and community organizers at the forefront of this issue. Read more here.
EPA adopts heavy-duty truck rule
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a clean trucks plan that is generating mixed reactions, particularly from environmental justice organizations nationwide who argue the rule falls short of phasing out diesel trucks in freight communities most impacted by their pollution.
A letter addressed to the EPA by the Moving Forward Network (MFN), a national grassroots coalition of climate, environmental justice and science organizations, says the rule will not be enough to alleviate the daily burdens caused by diesel trucks in environmental justice communities.
“If we are talking about ending diesel, then we are talking about ending the shipment of diesel, then we’re talking about ending the production of diesel, ending the piping of diesel and ending the extraction of diesel,” shared mark! Lopez of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCE). “All of that comes to an end. So, it’s not just about 1 truck, or that we want a 5% reduction of [diesel-using] trucks. We want to end the system [entirely].”
More stories to read and listen to:
Unfiltered IE Series. Quinn Mays. KVCR News
Which Inland Empire cities have the most warehousing? Jeff Horseman. Press Enterprise.
The Quiet Toll of Oil Drilling on Black Los Angeles. Adam Mahoney. Capital B News.
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