Policy Wrap

Fighting for environmental justice and challenging the cultural and systemic roots of white supremacy.

Lastest Highlight: First Annual Eco-Tianguis, March 26th, 2023.

A community centered event to support local small business because we are seeing the logisitics industry pushing out small businesses and taking over spaces with warehouses.

Members of the San Bernardino Airport Communities meeting with Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ) on the Environmental Justice for All Act, 2022.


PCEJ Policy Wrap Up:

Peoples Collective for Environmental Justice (PCEJ) has spent the last year working on pushing policies that will create material change in our communities. PCEJ maintains their position of finding ways to disrupt capitalism, as it is one of the roots of the climate crisis and environmental racism. 

Policy work doesn’t just happen on the day of hearings and votes – it takes surveying our communities, reading and breaking down technical documents, research, meetings after meetings, personal stories, lobbying, applying pressure and disruption to the status quo. PCEJ would like to thank every single community member and partner that took part in the day to day work of pushing policies that reflect our lived experiences and needs. 

In our second year of work, we are proud of the spaces we have occupied but are even more excited about where we are going.

Here are a couple of policy updates: 

Air Pollution 

Advanced Clean Fleet (ACF) – is a regulation that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is considering to mandate that truck fleet companies and goods movement companies – like Amazon, Walmart, etc – switch out their diesel trucks for zero emission trucks.  In the Inland Empire, we have over 20k diesel trucks that drive on each freeway, many of which drive through residential neighborhoods. Burning diesel is known to cause respiratory and other health illnesses. Additionally, there is rampant misclassification of truck drivers by these large corporations. 

The current rule regulates about 315 fleets in CA. We are demanding that CARB lowers the threshold to 10 in order to capture over 1000 fleets that operate in the State which would result in 86% of NOx and PM reduction but still only about 13% of fleets in the State. 

This rule is set to come for a final hearing next Spring in Sacramento. If this rule passes w/ our recommendations we could have those thousands of trucks that drive through the IE transition to zero-emission over the next two decades. We will flip the burden of the truck transition to the owner of the goods instead of the truck driver & by 2035 see all the trucks that enter/exit a rail yard or port be zero emissions. 

Locomotive Rule is a regulation that the California Air Resources Board (CARB)  is considering for regulating freight and passenger trains. Freight trains in particular have largely gone unregulated by the government. Class 1 railroad companies like Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP) have a monopoly over the way our goods move on rail and have not had oversight over their pollution or operations. Thus, freight trains are one of the largest sources of air pollution in our communities. BNSF and UP mainly use some of the oldest and most polluting technology and equipment, when  less polluting options exist. Additionally, in many places around the world, freight trains are operated with overhead catenary lines which are zero emission. Instead in the U.S., we have these trains that run 24/7 on old, polluting diesel engines. 

We are demanding that CARB puts an end to combustion trains in California so by 2030 all new passenger, industrial and railyard trains must be zero-emissions. Accelerate the requirements for certain trains to go ZE by 2027 and set a 15 minute idling limit instead of the 30 minute that exists now. 

The locomotive rule will have a final hearing next Spring in Sacramento where we will go to ensure that CARB finally regulates these corporations and starts to bring relief to our communities and air quality. 

Railyard Indirect Source Rule (ISR) – is a regulation by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) to regulate the pollution at rail yards. This regulation could require railyards to begin setting up infrastructure for zero emissions and mandate the use of zero emission equipment. Currently, the Inland Empire has multiple railyards that have had minimal oversight and regulation. Yet, from the few health studies that have been conducted, we know that the railyards are a large source of air pollution and health concerns such as cancer clusters. 

The issue is that the SCAQMD wants to focus first on regulating “proposed rail yards” such as the “Colton Component” instead of existing railyards. Everyday that we wait longer to regulate the railyards in our communities, the longer families are exposed to harmful toxins in their environment. 

The SCAQMD will host workshops early this year on this rule and hold a hearing in the Spring. We will push for a strong regulation that gets at proposed and existing railyards. 

Civil Rights  

Environmental Justice 4 All (EJ4All) Act – is a proposed policy in Congress that would strengthen the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on disparate impact, require the consideration of cumulative impacts in permitting decisions, strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act and more. 

A letter was sent to the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader urging for the EJ 4 All Act to be passed by this sitting Congress in honor of Congressman McEeachin’s passing.

Land Use 

Colton Warehouse Ordinance – for almost two years, the City of Colton has had a moratorium on warehouses. This was possible because of community pressure by groups such as “We Are Colton” and other community members. Since then the City has been working on an ordinance for warehouse development standards. Although the date has been pushed back numerous times. We expect an update from the planning department in January. 

Airport Gateway Specific Plan – the Inland Valley Development Agency which is housed at the San Bernardino International Airport is working on a specific plan to rezone over 9 million sq. ft. north of the SB Airport to attract mixed use industrial development. This plan would also puts over 1,000 homes in risk of displacement. In the past, we have advocated for the Airport to create standards for the companies it has on its property and nearby. 

The EIR has been released and is currently undergoing a process of accepting public comment. The SBAC has demanded an extension for the comment period and better community engagement from the IVDA.


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