East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice info@eycej.org 323.263.2113

The Commerce City Council Passes a Green Zones Policy!

Green Zones Yard Sign

ON TUEDAY NIGHT, the Commerce City Council reviewed recommendations for a Green Zones policy. EYCEJ presented recommendations based on a four-pillar system of prevention, reduction, revitalization and reinvestment. The purpose of the policy is to create healthy communities and job opportunities in Commerce.

While the city-sponsored Green Zones Policy Working Group recommended only three of the four pillars, EYCEJ recommended that the City Council secure the prevention pillar in order to stop toxic exposure by amending the zoning law to restrict new toxic land-uses close to homes, schools, churches and senior centers.

Toña Lupercio, a Commerce resident and EYCEJ member, testified in favor of Green Zones and presented the City Council with hundreds of signatures from community residents in support of EYCEJ’s recommendations for the Green Zones policy. She also spoke about the overwhelming community support for this policy. “This policy is critical and we need your leadership,” she told the Council.

After a long deliberation, the council members voted unanimously on the three pillars of the Green Zones Policy as recommended by the Green Zones Policy Working Group. They also decided to have study sessions on the zoning ordinance that would help to prevent new hazards.

Thank to the work of residents, the City of Commerce now has a Green Zones policy! This is one of the first Green Zones policies in the nation and our members and allies will be celebrating this historic victory.

SB 811 Update

We Support SB811

Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed SB 811, the bill authored by Senator Ricardo Lara that would have required CalTrans to examine Community Alternative 7 (CA7) in its entirety as part of the 710 Corridor Project.

Regrettable, Brown’s rationale for vetoing the bill was misinformed. If he had taken the time to discuss the details with us, it would have been clear to him why this bill makes sense and why it is so important. Although Governor Brown understands the urgency of this project, CalTrans continues to reject local demands. This Caltrans-created opposition could prolong the 710 Corridor Project for another decade, if not longer.

East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice is committed to the goal of SB 811 and will try to reach the same goal through the EIR project process. We will continue to work on ensuring that CA7 is a viable option for the 710 Corridor Project. Residents, organizations, and local officials from the 18 cities of the 710 Corridor support CA7 because it meets the needs of residents while addressing projected truck traffic along the corridor. The 710 Corridor Project is a $6 billion dollar project, let’s make it the best project possible.

Press Telegram: http://www.presstelegram.com/environment-and-nature/20131011/710-freeway-governor-vetoes-bill-favored-by-environmental-activists

Governor’s Veto Message: http://gov.ca.gov/docs/SB_811_2013_Veto_Message.pdf

The Guide to Green: A win-win approach for Environmental Quality & Economic Vitality in Commerce

Written by Brinton Williams, Edited by Cassie Gardener


Through a unique collaboration, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, the Commerce Industrial Council, the City of Commerce and the Liberty Hill Foundation recently convened for the first of many workshops to help Commerce businesses save money by going green. The “Guide to Green Business Benefits Workshop,” held at the Rosewood Park Community Center on Thursday May 30th, 2013, marked an important first step in the organizers’ goals to reduce the impact of industrial pollution on community health, and revitalize businesses with green economic development opportunities.

The 90-minute program featured six different agencies at the Federal, State, Regional, and Local government level, who provided beneficial information on many of the different financial and technical assistance programs available to businesses in the City of Commerce that are looking to improve their business and operate more safely. This information is compiled in the new City of Commerce Guide to Green, co-published by Liberty Hill and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, which was handed out and reviewed at the event and can be found online here.

The new City of Commerce Guide to Green is effective in helping businesses both save money and improve the environment around them. City Council member, Ivan Altamirano put it best when he said, “the Guide to Green has the potential of increasing cash-flow for property owners and the contractors they employ, providing rich tax incentives to businesses and enhancing the environmental quality of our community.”[i] This business-friendly approach to tackling the environmental health and justice challenges facing the City of Commerce promises to be a model for other cities nationwide to follow. It allows for the City to offer business incentives that can help small- and medium-sized businesses “revitalize their operations”[ii] and “transition from outmoded and inefficient equipment and production methods to more sustainable and non-polluting business operations.”[iii]

As part of East Yard Communities’ Green Zone Policy Campaign, the Guide to Green directory and corresponding workshop illustrate how a voluntary business retrofit and Green Banner Program could ensure the protection of both business interests and the health of community members, as the city becomes more environmentally friendly and sustainable. As the guide itself says, “this transition to “green” can support small- and medium-size businesses as they revitalize their operations and move towards a sustainable future.”[iv] This sustainable future is what will “ensure economic vitality and protect public health”[v] for all City of Commerce citizens and businesses, for years to come.

[i] http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/6/prweb10790629.htm

[ii] www.libertyhill.org/Commerce_Guide2Green

[iii] www.libertyhill.org/Commerce_Guide2Green

[iv] http://www.libertyhill.org/document.doc?id=316

[v] East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice Green Zone Policy Campaign