Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Thursday announced plans to establish the Environmental Justice Bureau which will help those in communities that bear the burden of environmental pollution. Many of these communities also are low-income and communities of color that suffer the consequences of pollution from industrial development.
The Environmental Justice Bureau will initially consist of four environmental lawyers, but with goals of bolstering that in order to achieve its goals. The attorneys have not yet been hired and it is uncertain at this time when the new bureau will begin. The Environmental Justice Bureau's main, overarching goal will be to diminish and eliminate environmental pollution.
Bakersfield is one of the communities largely affected by air pollution, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
Due to the topography, meteorological factors and other natural challenges, air pollution is a big concern mainly not because this area generates more, but because the bad air has a tendency to stay trapped in the valley, said Jamie Holt, chief communications officer of the valley air district. Two main pollutants — ozone and particulates — cause a myriad of bronchial problems and cardiovascular problems respectively.
She said the introduction of the Environmental Justice Bureau is positive. The valley air district has its own Environmental Justice Advisory group that has been active since 2008, dedicated to combating environmental issues.
"Any action by state or federal government that can shine on more attention for environmental problems is for the better," Holt said.