Big wins for environmental justice in Imperial Valley CA by Comite Civico Del Valle

The social and environmental justice organization Comite Civico Del Valle, located in Brawley, California, works to improve the lives of families living near the Mexican border.  Among their accomplishments are leadership of the tremendously successful IVAN Environmental Monitoring System, sponsorship of the 6th Annual Imperial County Environmental Health Leadership Summit, and installation of their own air monitoring equipment.

Their hard work and success has gained them strong support from the State Assembly and Governor Jerry Brown, who last week signed two bills that will help clean up Imperial Valley air and water pollution and provide additional funds for disadvantaged communities to mitigate environmental problems.

The bills were sponsored by State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, pictured below at a ceremony at the Mexican border.  The Imperial Valley Press reported that Garcia said Executive Director of Comite Civico del Valle Luis Olmedo brought these issues forward to him and his help was instrumental in drafting the bills.

Source: California Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella)

One of the bills requires the California Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment to update and expand the CalEnviroScreen 2.0 air monitoring program along the California-Mexico border region to address severe air quality concerns. 

The bill mandates the improvement of standards for measuring the health effects of water, air and other pollution, and ensures vehicle emissions at border crossings, emissions from across the border, and water quality of streams and rivers that cross the border are monitored and addressed.

The second bill requires the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to establish policies for Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) to assist environmental justice communities along the border, and allocates half of the money collected for environmental infractions to resolving environmental problems in the area.

To learn more about this legislation, check out these resources:

News article (paywall) Gov. Brown signs environmental bills presented by Garcia, Imperial Valley Press