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CCEJN History

The Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN) has been promoting environmental justice and health equity in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) since 2000. CCEJN focuses on advancing community resilience in disadvantaged communities by increasing the level of recognition of adverse health effects caused by pollution and serving as a hub for environmental activism in the Central Valley.

CCEJN has been successful at increasing community capacity to identify and report sources of pollution, and has decreased pollution by informing residents, and local regulators about violations to health protective laws. CCEJN does this by coordinating in Kern and Fresno counties the resident reporting network known as “Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods” (IVAN). IVAN Fresno and IVAN Kern work by training residents to identify and report environmental problems and to advocate for more stringent regulations and enforcement. The core of our work has been empowering community members to advocate for themselves, we do this by providing them with the knowledge, tools and skills necessary to overcome pollution and prevent violations.

 

But CCEJN not only works to identify environmental problems but also to develop systemic solutions. Therefore, the reporting networks also formed taskforces that bring together regulatory agencies, community groups, and residents to investigate and solve reports and to work on advancing health protective regulations.

CCEJN is an active member of state coalitions (i.e. Californians Against Fracking; California Environmental Justice Network; Central Valley Air Quality Coalition) that seek to advance regulations to protect our environment. An example of these efforts is the passage of AB1420, bill introduced by Assemblyman Rudy Salas in response to the petition of community members and Environmental Justice advocates to establish more stringent regulations to the oil and gas industry. A violation reported to IVAN Kern (a leak in a gas pipeline operated by Petrocapitol caused the evacuation of residents in Arvin) evidenced that the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) didn’t have the means to protect community members from these leaks.

 

CCEJN’s has also successfully implemented other programs that hold a strong emphasis on empowering residents; we have implemented community-monitoring and resident-led participatory research projects that engage residents in the documentation of pollution effects.

 

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