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Byline: Torie Osborn and Carlos Porras Local View

WORKING-class homeowners living with DDT DDT or 2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1,-trichloroethane, chlorinated hydrocarbon compound used as an insecticide. First introduced during the 1940s, it killed insects that spread disease and feed on crops.  in their back yards, moms and dads whose children developed asthmas and chronic nosebleeds, residents who woke up one morning with a notice tacked to their front door announcing a new power plant to be built down the street - these men and women represent a new breed of grass-roots leader.

They've fused civil rights and environmentalism environmentalism, movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use. , called it ``environmental justice'' and are demanding a seat at the government decision-making table for predominantly low-income communities of color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.

See also: Color
 that are most immediately and profoundly impacted by pollution.

Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  County is now at the cutting edge of environmental justice organizing, not only for the rest of the state, but for the nation. Given L.A.'s distinction as the most densely industrial region of the country, there is no more logical place for this movement to have gained traction.

Between 1970 and 1990, the risk of living next to a toxic-waste facility increased slightly for everyone in Los Angeles, but for people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color

race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important
, it increased threefold.

Local groups are fighting back, taking on incinerators, toxic dumps, polluting factories and more. Fighting in the courts and the streets, the Bus Riders Union won not only more, but cleaner buses. Los Angeles now Wikipedia is not the place for advertisement or self-advertising. Los Angeles Now, a documentary by Producer/Director Phillip Rodriguez, made its national high definition broadcast premiere on PBS’ Independent Lens series in November 2004.  has the largest clean-fuel bus fleet in the country.

Residents in Pacoima, sandwiched between five SuperFund sites and three freeways, learned to flex their civic muscle, taking on zoning, street lighting and illegal dumping problems. They are currently laying the groundwork to address neighborhood toxics. Proposed power plants in Baldwin Hills, Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe Springs, city (1990 pop. 15,520), Los Angeles co., SW Calif., inc. 1957. The city lies in an oil and natural gas region and has diversified manufacturing.  and South Gate have been shelved.

Environmental justice advocates, led by Communities for a Better Environment, also won a 75 percent reduction in the South Coast Air Quality Management District's allowable cancer risk. This landmark decision A landmark decision is the outcome of a legal case (often thus referred to as a landmark case) that establishes a precedent that either substantially changes the interpretation of the law or that simply establishes new case law on a particular issue.  represented the first time any community in the country successfully forced a regulatory agency regulatory agency

Independent government commission charged by the legislature with setting and enforcing standards for specific industries in the private sector. The concept was invented by the U.S.
 to review and strengthen its cancer risk standard. That decision catalyzed other legislation and government policy. Then-state Sen. Hilda Solis sponsored groundbreaking legislation that required all California EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.

eicosapentaenoic acid

EPA, See acid, eicosapentaenoic.

 agencies to incorporate environmental justice principles into its programs, policies and standards. Last December, the California Air Resources Board California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the "clean air agency" of the state of California in the United States. Established originally in 1967, it is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency, an organization which reports directly to the California  adopted its own set of environmental justice guidelines.

What makes these developments all the more remarkable is how little support they have received from established environmental organizations and philanthropy. Mainstream environmental organizations have only recently begun to incorporate environmental justice into their concerns, often without making a long-term institutional commitment to it.

Environmental justice poses a challenge for these established environmental organizations, because environmental justice isn't simply about cleaning up the environment. It's about people as well as pollution. Too often, decisions continue to be made about cancer risk thresholds, control technology to be used at a refinery or power plant, or the siting of a polluting facility without input from the men and women who will be most immediately exposed.

As for foundation support, a recent study revealed that only two-tenths of one percent of all charitable grants made by foundations go to environmental justice projects. Even within the world of environmental funding, only a tiny fraction goes to environmental justice. Certainly, greater funding is called for, but what's needed goes beyond grants-making.

Most environmental justice advocates aren't trained as environmental scientists or lawyers. Few of them start out with the scientific expertise or the know-how needed to accomplish their goals. In fact, more than 70 percent of the people active in local environmental justice groups have never been involved in the community before.

Foundations can offer credibility and confidence by offering more than funding, by ``active partnering'' that helps grass-roots groups develop the skills they need.

Although the science and the bureaucracy can be daunting daunt  
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.

[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin
, the county's street-smart environmental justice leaders have learned to throw around acronyms with all the fluency of a government bureaucrat, because in the end, environmental justice isn't rocket science. It's about a commitment to democracy, fairness, and clean and healthy neighborhoods for everyone.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 15, 2002

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