May 31, 2023

What People Are Saying: Report on the State of Air Quality in California’s 39th Congressional District

What People Are Saying: Report on the State of Air Quality in California’s 39th Congressional District  

RIVERSIDE, CA – Three weeks ago, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) released The State of Air Quality in California’s 39th Congressional District: a comprehensive report detailing the air quality conditions in California’s 39th Congressional District, its impacts on local residents, and potential policy solutions. Here is what leading local environmental advocates and experts are saying about the State of Air Quality report:

Riverside School of Medicine BREATHE Center, Director David Lo: “This is a very important report that provides a useful overview of the air quality issues in the region, especially in the face of the rapid development of distribution centers across the region. Local communities need to know these impacts; without the larger context, they may be making short-term decisions without understanding the longer-term impacts on their community’s health as well as finances. The costs of the detrimental health impacts are not equitably borne by all residents, and this report provides an important picture that should help future decisions.”

Moreno Valley Sierra Club Group, Conservation Chair George Hague: "This report reinforces what we already know — that warehouse developers are burdening disadvantaged communities with severe diesel pollution, impacting their health, and reducing their home’s indoor air quality. The Sierra Club supports limiting the development of warehouses in the Inland Empire to reduce these emission sources and implementing policies to improve air quality. Too many of our region’s decision makers have never used their power to reduce harmful diesel pollution by voting against a warehouse project or even requiring significant conditions on the projects to reduce harmful pollution impacts on families and the environment — this must change in our nonattainment area.”

The Nature Conservancy, Strategy Lead Elizabeth O'Donoghue: “The Nature Conservancy (TNC) commends Congressman Takano for elevating the urgency of addressing air quality issues through a regional and multi-faceted approach to reduce pollutants that are having demonstrable impacts on human health, the environment and economy in his district and the region. While pollutants harm ecosystems, nature plays a role in improving air quality by filtering and sequestering pollutants such as fine particulate matter and ozone, and reducing greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change. Tools such as regional greenprints, strategies such as forest management, and investments that include habitat protection and restoration can help reduce pollutants and improve air quality, human health and the economy. TNC looks forward to working with Congressman Takano and partners to address this urgent and complex issue.”

Robert Redford Conservancy at Pitzer College , Professor Susan Phillips: “It's heartening to see an elected leader like Congressman Takano join this conversation with a willingness to do what he can. If everyone had this same attitude—to bring attention to the critical issues of our time, such as carbon emissions, land use, and air quality—we could really get to work solving the issues instead of just arguing about them. This is the type of leadership that can move our region beyond the current crisis, and we need more of it. The issues are there. Takano's report shows us how multiple levels of government can work alongside communities to address them.”

UCR Center for Social Innovation, Research Director Beth Tamayose: "The State of the Air Quality report provides a roadmap for action for improving air quality in the Inland Empire. It offers valuable insights on pollution sources and their impact, empowering policymakers to develop targeted interventions for healthier communities."

Riverside Neighbors Opposing Warehouses: “As Congressman Takano's State of the Air Quality report illustrates, smog in the Inland Empire is largely caused by emissions from the goods movement industry. Too many local elected officials ignore the significant and unavoidable air quality impacts when permitting local warehouses, and the cumulative impact of their negligence is undermining the efforts of the EPA, CARB, and SCAQMD. R-NOW urges local elected officials to follow Congressman Takano's lead and curb emissions by restricting future warehouse growth to sustainable levels.”

UCR Professor of Atmospheric Dynamics and Modeling, William Porter: “The Inland Empire today faces a daunting list of air quality threats from sources such as ongoing warehouse proliferation, increasing wildfires, and transported pollution from upwind urban emissions. Congressman Takano's recently released State of Air Quality report provides a clear, concise summary of these threats, as well as the continued costs they impose upon vulnerable Inland Empire communities and the need for bold action in response to them. It is my hope that this report can serve as a focal point for the development of strong policy that can address the unique air quality issues facing the Inland Empire and other similarly threatened regions.”

Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Executive Director Ana Gonzalez: “"As Congressman Mark Takano takes steps to raise awareness about the health impacts associated with poor air quality in our region, he should be commended for bringing this issue to the forefront. Our communities deserve to breathe clean air."

UCR Sustainability Office, Sustainability Officer Fortino Morales III: “This report outlines many of the major factors that the region needs to consider when it comes to air quality. It synthesizes much of the research that shows the adverse and disproportionate health impacts that the community faces due to poor air quality, as well as outlining the sources of air pollution.  UC Riverside has played a critical role in addressing air quality conditions through decades of research and innovations, and the campus looks forward to continuing this important partnership in support of the region’s personal and environmental health.”

Center for Environmental Research & Technology, Research Specialist Ivette Torres: “Congressman Mark Takano’s report solidifies what the community has been saying for years, the increase of warehousing and air quality have a correlation. This report is the first step to get federal and local support to regulate this industry.”

To read the State of Air Quality in California’s 39th Congressional District Report, click here.