I have scratched my head until it is raw, tried to get my brain to process this bit of information I gleaned and asked people I know what they can make of this term – environmental racism. Per the Daily Caller, environmentalists have accused the city of Los Angeles of environmental racism. The Los Angeles city council approved Rail Company’s BSNF $500 million project, the Southern California International Gateway (SCIG), which is located 4 miles from the ports of San Pedro, CA. BSNF states the distance trucks travel will be reduced with this project. Trucks now have to travel 24 miles along the congested 710 interstate in order to access the rail yards for goods transportation.
The reduce mileage route sounds like a good thing to me; but, alas, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and some environmental groups comes along to correct me.
These groups claim this project targets minority LA communities because it will be built in Wilmington, a suburb of LA whose 87% population of 51,000 are blue collar workers or Latino. They also claim this project will add 1 million truck and train trips through the local area thereby increasing cancer and asthma rates through chronic pollution. David Pettit, director of the NRDC’s Southern California air program and urban program stated the project “typifies environmental racism.” Hold the phone. This “typifies” environmental racism. I had no idea environmental racism exists much less this type of action would typify it.
Struggling to come to grips with this new term, the best guess I can make of “environmental racism” is the intentional targeting of minority groups or areas by a large company or group of majority individuals in order to pollute the air. I guess I need to get my tinfoil hat and put it on because the conspiracy theory runs deep with this one.
California is the state that has already restricted 18 wheel tractors from even coming into the state if that tractor is older than 2004 unless it is modified to meet their air quality standards. This same state also restricted 18 wheel trailers from coming in unless they are modified with skirts or underbelly “aerodynamic technology?” This information is contained in the California Air Resources Board. Granted, that website has a lot of regulations; however, thankful to an individual I know who is an owner/operator of a trucking company, I am aware of these regulations because they cannot afford to make the upgrades in order to continue to conduct business in California due to the restrictions.
BSNF concedes they will only allow trucks that are made since 2010 to travel through Wilmington and by 2026, 90% of their fleet will run on natural gas or low emission fuels. So in order to make all these concessions, BSNF will spend an additional $100 million on “green” technology. Despite the outcry of NRDC and environmental groups, the labor union leaders support the project as it will bring needed permanent jobs at a time when unemployment remains high.
While I would like to believe the motives of the NRDC and environmental groups opposed to this are altruistic. It goes against my nature. Now, maybe I’m not liberal or progressive enough to even comprehend this. We are talking California here. One of their arguments centers on the project increasing these residents’ cancer and asthma rates. I thought Los Angeles already had chronic pollution. Los Angeles suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the nation. I mean the blankets of smog envelope the entire city and surrounding areas. Residents of Los Angeles drive their cars daily and fleets of commercial vehicles cruise the highways conducting business. Would it not stand to reason that some of those pollutants would reach the suburb of Wilmington? Even though I live almost 45 miles outside of a major metropolitan area, the wind will blow the air pollution from the city into my neighborhood. I don’t think Wilmington is contained in a plastic bubble. Unconstitutional as it is, The EPA stated in 2009 that improved fuel standards and fuel efficiency is reducing the levels of carcinogenic air pollutants. Someone please send this memo from the EPA to the environmentalists in California. They evidently didn’t get it. Doesn’t California already have some of the most rigorous air quality regulations and restrictions in the nation and continually working to institute more? Someone save me. I feel like a dog running in circles chasing my tail.
I can’t help but wonder whose pocketbook would benefit the most from the failure of this project and whose pocketbook is being fattened now with things the way they are. I wonder as well what the alternative would be and whose pockets would benefit from that. Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone is concerned about the environment; however, I question motives when hit with a term like “environmental racism.” Had the neighborhood complained about the possible degradation of their streets, increased traffic resulting in congestion and inconvenience to the residents, or any other host of problems that would arise in a community because of this project, I would say maintaining the continuity of their community is most important. However, the complaints and lawsuit arose from the NRDC, using an emotionally charged argument propped up with violations of civil rights.
But still this term “environmental racism” just has me shaking my head. You know the greatest source of “greenhouse” gas emissions is cow belches and farts. As a side note, humans and other animals produce these gases as well. Take note on this as the liberal environmentalists want everything to go green. Don’t you dare go into any minority area and release any gas emissions or you yourself could be targeted as an environmental racist.
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