To address air quality concerns in Pittsburg, a one-year, bilingual endeavor called Pittsburg Air Quality Community Advocates Project is being funded by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The goal of the project is to train 200 community members on air pollution and health impacts. It is a partnership between La Clinica de la Raza, Community Science Institute of Denny Larson, and Freedom Breathers with the support of local activists. And we are pleased to share that one of those local activists is a staff member of Rose Foundation.
Pamela Arauz, Administrative Manager at the foundation, and advocate for clean air in Pittsburg, CA is engaged on a volunteer basis as co-trainer in the clean air advocacy project. Pamela became involved at opposing the WesPac Energy Infrastructure Project in September 2013. If approved, WesPac would have been 15 minutes away from her home in Antioch.
In December 2013, a community based air-monitoring project was conducted revealing air pollution, links to health, and other issues such as the absence of a much-needed air monitoring station. You can read all about it here.
WesPac attempted to transform a 15-year-long inactive Pacific Gas & Electric’s facility into a center for storage, transfer, and transportation of 10 million gallons of crude oil by rail, pipeline, ship and barge daily. This would have increased toxic air emissions and worsened the air quality in the area. However, the community was not going to have it. Between the world-wide drop in oil prices and the delay in the project from concerned and informed local grassroots groups, larger nonprofits and many activists, in December 2015, the contractor withdrew the permit application from the City of Pittsburg.
WesPac inspired the community to rise and open their eyes about the environmental injustices taking place in their city. And the activism for clean air continued through the work of Freedom Breather, a grantee of Rose Foundation. Freedom Breather is a group of science teachers and students of Pittsburg High School who, in January 2015, came together to monitor air quality conditions in their city.
The Community Science Institute, Freedom Breathers, and local activists fighting for environmental justice in Pittsburg have been supported by the Rose Foundation at different stages of these committed advocacy efforts for clean air. The partners in Pittsburg Air Quality Community Advocates Project are excited about this new endeavor. The ultimate goal is to improve air quality for those most impacted such as children, elders, or those with respiratory health issues. We will keep you posted as this project develops.