Guest Post by Communities For A Better Environment
Come visit us! CBE’s new community space is right in the heart of Wilmington’s Downtown area. Since moving into our new location, we have had greater accessibility for community members to bring their concerns to us on environmental health as it relates to air quality, refinery emissions, and neighborhood drilling.
Being in a store front at Anaheim and Avalon has given us the opportunity to hear directly from residents and community walking by about issues that are most important to them from respiratory problems to acute illnesses to homelessness to greater accountability from our elected leaders to advance community concerns.
Founded in 1978, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) is one of the preeminent environmental justice organizations in the nation. The mission of CBE is to build people’s power by helping California’s communities of color and low-income communities organize to achieve environmental health and justice, by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments.
For two decades, CBE has organized fenceline families in Wilmington- those living right next to oil refineries, neighborhood oil drilling sites, and other businesses and industries emitting toxics- to secure stringent regulations and policies that protect community health and advance green alternatives in our communities. We do this through our triad model of: grassroots community organizing, science-based research, and legal strategies.
CBE develops the leadership and capacity of community residents- both adults and youth from the local area high schools in the harbor area. Our youth program, Youth for Environmental Justice meets weekly to discuss and plan actions, campaign direction and leadership skills they’d like to develop, whereas our adult members meet bi-monthly. We’re also on campus at Banning High School and Port of Los Angeles High School through our Youth Action Club.
Our members have been at the forefront of new progressive policies, regulation changes, and highlighting the consequences of residential zoning above the nations’ third largest oil field.
Here are some examples of the work community members have accomplished:
- Passing the first Flare Rule regulations for the South Coast air basin, which requires refineries to minimize the use of flaring. This ultimately reduces the amount of toxins emitted into the air we breathe.
- Challenging South Coast Air Quality Management District (SouthCoastAQMD) in their approval of the flawed Environmental Impact Report on the Tesoro (now Andeavor) refinery expansion.
- Hosting the People’s Climate March in Wilmington, which brought thousands of people and families together to resist the expansion of the Tesoro refinery, build solidarity, and rise for community health and safety.
- Suing the City of Los Angeles for permitting oil drilling in black and brown communities which moved the City to establish a new oil drilling application process.
- Leading the ground work and moving the City of Los Angeles to implementing the innovative Clean Up Green Up policy, that establishes Wilmington as a Green Zone.
Not only are we fighting back against an extractive economy that prioritizes wealth above community health, we’re also ensuring fenceline communities get to reap the benefits of a clean energy future. Our work in the Heart of the Harbor also includes connecting residents and businesses with programs that move us off our reliance on fossil fuels, such as; energy efficiency, solar installation, and electric vehicles.
To learn more about our work visit us at our Open House Celebration this Saturday, February 10, 2018 from 2pm-5pm. You can support community rooted solutions to environmental pollution by donating at www.cbecal.org/donate/join-cbe, be sure to note “Wilmington” in the comment box.
You can also visit us online at www.cbecal.org for more information.