"As Gov. Jerry Brown seeks support to extend a key environmental policy in California, he’s planning a trip to a gritty corner of the state: the blue-collar neighborhoods southeast of Los Angeles, where thousands of people live alongside rail yards that spew plumes of smoke and freeways rumbling with big rigs.
Brown is better known as a global environmentalist. His zeal for fighting climate change has taken him to Paris, Rome and Canada for meetings with world leaders, and he’s going to China next month for a clean energy forum with officials from two dozen countries.
But his Los Angeles trip reflects the rise of environmental justice concerns inside the Capitol. A new generation of legislators and the growing clout of eco-advocates from urban communities is changing the focus of environmental debates in California. Once sidelined as a fringe voice of activism, the environmental justice perspective — focused on how environmental decisions affect poor communities and people of color — is now at the center of high-profile deliberations."