Southern California

Communities for a Better Environment Cleans Up in Southern California

The South Coast air basin (Los Angeles and non-desert parts of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange counties) was ranked the smoggiest area in the nation in 2012 by the American Lung Association when it comes to ozone pollution. The Los Angeles area came in third when it comes to people at health risk from particle pollution.

But in some neighborhoods, the abundance of local sources of pollution make health impacts even worse. Those are the Southern California urban communities—comprised of mostly minorities and low-income people—where Communities for a Better Environment works. From decades of organizing in Southern California, there has emerged innovative strategies that battle pollution and build healthier neighborhoods: Brown to Green and Green Up, Clean Up.

CBE has scored many victories in Southern California. For instance, in Vernon, an industry town five miles south of downtown LA, CBE and community members blocked a potential power plant that would have added tons of pollution to the already smoggy air. CBE won a campaign in Wilmington, near the Port of Los Angeles, to reduce toxic gas flare-offs.