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San Bernardino Celebrates an Environmental Justice Victory

For over 20 years, we worked alongside San Bernardino residents to raise our voices and call on Omnitrans, a local public transit agency, to find a safer solution for storing natural gas that posed a danger to our homes and schools.

Why We Took Community Action

Omnitrans’ headquarters are located in the heart of the Westside of San Bernardino, across the street from Ramona Alessandro Elementary and the local community center. The facility housed over 60,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas, leaving nearby families at risk of exposure in the case of an accident. Common gas leak problems at the facility inundated residents’ schools, community center and homes with potent and disturbing odors.

A Win San Bernardino Environmental Justice

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What began as community organizing by a small group of women has finally ended with a great victory for those affected by and involved in this battle. Two of those women, Teresa Flores-Lopez and Marilyn Alcantar, still reside in the Westside and participated in Omnitrans’ unveiling of the new underground pipeline. “All of our hard work has finally paid off. It was all worth it,” said Marilyn.

As of December 2017, Omnitrans will finally discontinue the use of the massive gas storage tanks. Instead, the new storage system is an underground pipeline that will protect our families from exposure. During this transition, we will continue building a close relationship with Omnitrans to ensure that it utilizes the pipeline properly and prevents any possible risk to our families.

While this environmental justice victory means we can all breathe a sigh of relief, we will remain persistent in assuring that Omnitrans continues to have transparency with the nearby community about the safety of its operation. Our families’ safety is too important.

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