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PRESS RELEASE

July 30, 2013

El Pueblo Para El Aire y Agua Limpio/People for Clean Air and Water of Kettleman City

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice * Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment * Central California Environmental Justice Network

 

     For Immediate Release: Contact: Maricela Mares Alatorre (559) 583-0800, 816-9298

KETTLEMAN CITY RESIDENTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ALLIES TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE TO

BLAST STATE DEPARTMENT OF TOXICS AND AIR DISTRICT DRAFT DECISIONS TO APPROVE EXPANSION OF

VIOLATION-PLAGUED KETTLEMAN HILLS HAZARDOUS WASTE LANDFILL

 

COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE PRESS CONFERENCE:

            WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2013 at 5 PM IN FRONT OF KETTLEMAN CITY SCHOOL, 701 General Petroleum Avenue

            COMMUNITY TRUTH SQUAD TO ATTEND GOVERNMENT “OPEN HOUSE” ON DRAFT PERMIT DECISION AT 5:30

 

Kettleman City, CA – Kettleman City residents will be joined by community and environmental justice organizations at a press conference on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 5 pm to blast the state Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for their draft decisions to approve the proposed expansion of the violation-plagued Chemical Waste Management Kettleman Hills hazardous waste landfill.

Following the press conference, a “truth squad” of residents and allies will attend the government agency “open house” to counter the misinformation being distributed by the company and the government agencies that protect it.

Residents and their community group El Pueblo/People for Clean Air and Water of Kettleman City, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment and the Central California Environmental Justice Network will speak out to denounce the draft decisions to approve the dump expansion and increase pollution despite decades of violations, racially discriminatory public hearing rules and police intimidation in county and state public hearings, the ongoing health problems facing residents, and the state’ own CalEnviroScreen tool that documented the fact that Kettleman City is one of the most vulnerable and at-risk communities in the state.

Speakers will document Chem Waste’s horrible track record of chronic violations including years of illegal disposal of hazardous wastes and PCBs, years of failing to conduct some of the required monitoring, failing to report 72 spills of hazardous waste over a four year period, and faulty laboratory results that were produced for years. These chronic violations clearly are grounds for a permit denial, yet the state’s decision to issue a draft permit sends a message to polluters that they can violate their permit dozens of times as Chem Waste has, yet still get new permits.

Speakers will also blast the state for deciding to increase pollution despite their earlier promise to reduce pollution in Kettleman City.  The residents of Kettleman City suffer high rates of unexplained birth defects, infant deaths and childhood cancer, yet the expansion of the landfill would expose residents to decades of increased toxic pollution including breathing the emissions from hundreds of toxic waste trucks every day.

The State’s decision also relies heavily on and incorporates into its decision Kings County’s Environmental Impact Report that was approved in 2009 with the use of police dogs, police intimidation and racially discriminatory rules that gave Spanish-speaking residents half the time to testify as was given to white employees shipped into the county to pack the “public hearing” held by Kings County. This Jim Crow-style racism makes a mockery of the state’s alleged commitment to environmental justice, is a blatant violation of civil rights, and DTSC’s use of the county’s EIR is an affront to justice.

Residents and allies will announce their plans to fight, appeal and challenge any and all permits that may be issued to Chem Waste, and will also challenge the violation of civil rights represented by permit approvals.

Speakers will also document DTSC’s admission that it failed to provide the legally required public notice to all persons on their mandatory contact list for the current public comment period and the upcoming meetings and public hearing.

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