"We Call This Cancer Alley"

"In California, where Latinos, African Americans and Asians now collectively outnumber non-Hispanic whites, political power is shifting. Here especially, but also across the country, mainstream foundations, which had long supported environmental groups led by white lawyers and policy wonks, have begun to channel grants to community organizations run by Latinos and blacks who see clean air and water as civil rights. In the Southland, these environmental justice activists, as they are called, wage war in the dense corridor that runs from the massive ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach through neighborhoods that line the 710 Freeway -- Wilmington, Carson, Compton, Huntington Park, Commerce-- and on through Riverside and San Bernardino counties, with their vast distribution warehouses.'There are no buffer zones,' said Gilbert Estrada, a teacher who co-founded the East Yard group with Logan. 'We are the buffer zones.' Each year, pollution from ships, trucks and trains that move goods through the region contributes to an estimated 2,100 early deaths, 190,000 sick days for workers, and 360,000 school absences, according to the California Air Resources Board..."

Margot Roosevelt reports for the Los Angeles Times September 24, 2009.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Air