OXY Petroleum Pulls out of Carson!

Carson residents, CBE members and allies fought off 200 wells proposed in the City of Carson!

See CBE and the Center for Biological Diversity’s legal and technical comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for Oxy’s massive oil production development proposal, and see our 2014 community update regarding the project, which could have involved dangerous well stimulation techniques including hydraulic fracturing and harmful air, soil and groundwater emissions in an already disproportionately burdened environmental justice community.

Check out more coverage of Oxy’s withdrawal [here] from the Daily Breeze.

CBE statement regarding police violence

December 11, 2014

CBE statement regarding police violence

Communities for a Better Environment joins the millions of people mourning the senseless violent killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. We mourn for Andy Lopez, Tamir Rice, and Ayina Jones, three children who fell victim to police violence. We mourn for Rekia Byod, Yvette Smith, and the countless women of color who have been killed by police but whose deaths are often not recognized as symptoms of the same racism that kills people of color. These men, women and children are now added to the impossibly long list of human beings whose breath has been stolen by actions of police who, more often than not, have gone unpunished.

The nature of these killings and the subsequent lack of justice represent a long history of total disregard for the lives of people of color in this country. Black people have been lynched, tortured, and killed by police for centuries; migrants from Mexico, Central and South America have been murdered by border patrol along the Mexico U.S border for decades; and Native Americans continue to suffer the consequences of government-sanctioned genocide.

We believe that the justice system is broken and unable to deliver justice for people of color. We support many proposed changes to help in the short term, but until we attack, head on, the root cause — institutionalized racism — communities of color will not have access to justice. This failure of justice applies as much to cops killing black men and women as it does to corporate polluters killing children and elders.

We stand in solidarity with our members in Southeast Los Angeles, Huntington Park, Wilmington, Richmond, Oakland and communities of color across the U.S as they demand justice for the lost lives as a result of poor air quality, exposure to toxins, lack of economic opportunity and the militarization of their communities.

Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy community. This is the fight for freedom to breathe.

Power to the People,

Byron Gudiel
Executive Director

For the PDF file click, here

DTSC & Exide Technologies reach a settlement agreement but fail to include community input.

CBE responds to the settlement agreement between DTSC & Exide.

On November 6, 2014, the DTSC and Exide Technologies announced a settlement agreement purporting to resolve all compliance and other issues in dispute concerning the Vernon battery-recycling plant.

The settlement agreement caps Exide’s financial liability for residential cleanup at $9 million, even though there is nothing upon which the public can determine the reasonableness of that amount, and the scope and extent of contamination remain undetermined. The agreement also limits the number of residential properties that Exide may have to remediate, and leaves open the level to which it must remove lead contamination. Further, residents should not have to wait and continue to be exposed to dangerous levels of lead for up to five years, as provided in the agreement.

While the settlement agreement must still be approved by the bankruptcy court where Exide has a pending Chapter 11 case, the record indicates that a purpose of the agreement is to clear a path for the facility’s re-opening, its continued operations, and for the Department’s approval of the facility’s pending hazardous waste permit.

“Once again, we have been hit with an agreement between DTSC and Exide that fails to protect the public and the residents most impacted by this facility,” said Staff Attorney Yana Garcia. Garcia stated that “the Settlement provides no known recourse in the event of Exide’s liquidation, and sets forth arbitrary monetary amounts for clean-up before the Department has even finalized the scope and level of clean-up to necessary to deliver the protections it has promised residents. It is unacceptable for this Department to continue to proceed in a manner that prioritizes Exide’s ability to continue its operations, over the community’s health and wellbeing.”

CBE is disappointed that the DTSC entered into this settlement agreement without consulting with or notifying residents, whom are the people most impacted by the agreement. It is alarming that the Department proceeded without community input in limiting Exide’s liabilities and responsibilities at the cost of the community, especially in light of the haphazard process to date for soil testing and cleanup. The agreement’s limitations on Exide’s liabilities, and the ambiguities and contingencies of its terms create great uncertainty for affected residents and place their health in continued jeopardy.

CBE believes it is reckless for the State to allow continued operation of this facility, in light of its egregious history of violations of state and federal environmental laws, and which, in the state’s own words, has created “shockingly high” levels of contamination and cancer risks. No reasonable person would allow a childcare provider to stay in business after a history of abuse, nor a pilot to continue to carry people’s lives in her hands in light of a string of dangerous violations, and no reasonable state agency would allow Exide to continue to operate in Vernon.

DTSC’s actions show that it is once again relegating its affirmative obligations to enforce federal and state law to mere agreements, subject to conditions decided by only it and Exide. DTSC must remain accountable to the community, despite its agreement to limit Exide’s accountability.