Press Release: Trucking Industry’s “Assault On Our Lungs” Provision in Transportation Funding Bill Undermines Latest Pollution Regulations
Trucking Industry’s “Assault On Our Lungs” Provision in Transportation Funding Bill Undermines Latest Pollution Regulations
Last-minute amendment to SB 1 allows trucking industry to continue polluting Inland Empire’s air
Inland Empire, April 4, 2017 – Days after the California Air Resources Board unanimously adopted community-led resolutions to lower toxic air pollution in the Inland Empire, state lawmakers amended transportation funding bill SB 1 with a provision that would exempt trucks from the new regulations. Known as the “Assault On Our Lungs Provision” by Inland Empire residents who breathe some of the most polluted air in the nation, this last-minute amendment would allow trucks to continue polluting without oversight.
“SB 1 offers our community much-needed infrastructure improvements, but trucking industry lobbyists are using the ‘Assault On Our Lungs Provision’ to hold the promises of SB 1 hostage, undermining the California Air Resources Board authority to make our air safe,” says Penny Newman, executive director of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. “The ‘Assault On Our Lungs Provision’ robs families of our right to breathe without getting sick. It must be removed.”
Thanks to loose regulation of the trucking industries and lax enforcement of air quality laws in residential areas, studies show air pollution in the South Coast Air Basin kills thousands of people a year, about thirteen per day. Families in Inland Empire’s impacted communities have high rates of chronic disease, cancer and asthma, high healthcare costs, missed school days and work days and premature death. Children in the Inland Empire contract asthma at nearly double the national average.
“For years, we asked the California Air Resources Board to hold polluters accountable for the harm they’ve inflicted on our children and neighborhoods. On March 23, it listened, giving me hope for our future. But now the the trucking industry is using a sneaky, backdoor tactic to turn back our historic progress,” says Erlinda Murillo, a San Bernardino resident who contracted tumors and chronic illness caused by constant pollution in her neighborhood. “To all of our California lawmakers, remove the ‘Assault On Our Lungs Provision’ from SB 1. All of our families’ health is in your hands.”
The “Assault On Our Lungs Provision” of SB 1 would prohibit air quality agencies like the California Air Resources Board, and local air districts including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, from requiring improvements in older trucks that emit more toxic pollution, a critical measure to bring air quality to legal, safe standards. The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice says that SB 1, if passed with the provision intact, will force the Inland Empire communities that have carried the burden of the freight industry’s pollution for decades to continue to subsidize the profits of trucking companies with their own ill health.