Over the Top: The Cumulative Impact of Environmental Health Stressors
2:00 pm US Eastern Time
1. Introduction: Eleni Sotos, MA, National Coordinator, Collaborative on Health and the Environment
Before we begin, I’d like to thank Urban Habitat. Specifically, Bhavna Shamasunder and Juliet Ellis for co-collaborating with CHE on this call. They really have done a great job of pulling together the great people that are going to be speaking today -- as well as the resources.
I wanted to note a couple of quick announcements. The next CHE Partnership Call, “Getting the Lead Out: The Latest on Lead Exposure and Health Outcomes” is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14th at 9 am PT, Noon ET.
Also, just to note that we’re having a national CHE reception in New York City on Thursday, June 9th from 4:30 until 6:30. If you would like to join us, please e-mail Frieda Nixdorf at: firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Now I’d like to turn over the call to Steve Heilig.
2. Welcome: Steve Heilig, MPH, Director of Public Health and Education, San Francisco Medical Society and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment
Thank you. Good morning and good noon, everybody. It is very rewarding to see how many people are on the call today, because we’re talking about a topic that has often been neglected in the environmental health arena. I’m not going to say much, because we have put this call together, as Eleni said, with Urban Habitat. They are going to conduct the parade of speakers.
There is one other resource I would like to mention, because this is a topic that really stretches from the molecular level up to the political and geographic. I encourage you to look at the website for Our Stolen Future, which is www.OurStolenFuture.org, under the “New Science” section on the home page, then you go to “Mixtures and Synergies.” You’ll get Dr. Pete Myers’ discussion of how some of chemicals interact, and how some of the other stressors can have cumulative impacts and synergistic impacts.
Speaking of Dr. Myers, we are going to have our Science Update today from Pete Myers.
3. Science Update: Pete Myers, PhD, CEO, Environmental Health Sciences
Thank you very much, Steve. Those of you who are in front of a computer right now, please go to, www.OurStolenFuture.org. I have a link on the front page to 2 slides that I’ll describe today in this science update. If you go to that page, right at the top above where it says, “Newest,” there’s a link to “CHE Call 18 May 2005”. What I’ll be describing is some new science that’s come out this spring about the environmental stressors in urban habitats concerning lead.
This is some pretty remarkable research, where people working with rodents exposed rodents perinatally -- right around birth -- to low levels of lead. When they looked at the levels in the blood of the animals exposed, it was beneath the 10 mcg per deciliter level of concern currently identified by the CDC.
They asked some very different questions about this lead exposure effect than most people asked. Basically, they looked at gene expression. If you look at that, you can see that a particular gene called amyloid precursor protein gene was slightly elevated around birth, but then as the animal grew into adulthood, the level of expression of that gene went back to normal. Only late in life that amyloid precursor protein gene suddenly became quite highly expressed.
Those of you who follow Alzheimer’s disease will know that amyloid protein is the protein that forms amyloid plaque. The presence of amyloid plaque is the defining characteristic of Alzheimer's. What this study suggests is that lead exposure perinatally is effecting late in life the protein that appears to be linked tightly to Alzheimer's.
In addition to that being a mind-boggling result, where you have late-in-life gene expressing tied to perinatal exposure, the scientists also found that if they took the same exposure and exposed adults who had not been exposed perinatally, those adults did not show the pattern of amyloid precursor protein increase in gene expression. So an exposure late in life did not have the same exposure as exposure perinatally. Even though the effect of the change in gene expression was one seen late in life. This is likely to become the poster child of a theme that we’ll be covering on CHE calls in the future -- Fetal Origins of Adult Disease.
Steve Heilig: Thank you, Pete. I’m now going to turn it over to Juliet Ellis of Urban Habitat. Juliet is going to conduct the sequence of speakers, here. So, please go ahead.
4. Featured Presentations: Juliet Ellis, Urban Habitat
As an environmental justice organization that works first-hand with residents that are impacted from multiple chemicals, we are grateful for this opportunity today to co-sponsor this call on cumulative impacts. We have three great speakers, some of whom I know personally.
I’m going to introduce them briefly -- all of them together -- in the order they’re going to speak and present. Our first speaker is Wilma Subra. She started the Subra Company in 1981. That company is a chemistry lab and environmental consulting firm in Louisiana. Wilma provides technical assistance to communities across the United States, and internationally, concerned with the environment -- by combining technical research and evaluation. This information has been presented to community members so that strategies may be developed to address their local struggles. Using this information, the needs identified are actually translated into policy changes at the State and federal level.
Wilma currently is Vice-Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Counsel for Environmental Policy and Technology. She is a member of the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Counsel (NEJAC), and a member of The Cumulative Risks and Impacts Working Group of NEJAC.
She is also a member of the National Advisory Committee of the US Representatives to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
She received the MacArthur Fellowship Genius Award for helping ordinary citizens understand, cope and combat environmental issues. She was one of three finalists in the environmental category of the 2004 Volvo For Life award.
Veronica Eady will follow Wilma. Veronica is General Counsel for West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT), a community-based environmental justice organization in New York. She also serves as a professor at Fordham University School of Law.
Before joining WE ACT, Veronica held a faculty position in the Department of Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, where she taught Environmental Justice, Environmental Communication and Education -- among other courses.
Prior to her work at Tufts, Veronica was Director of the Environmental Justice and Brownfield’s Program for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. She served as a principal crafter at the first-ever Environmental Justice Policy & Program for Massachusetts environmental agencies, and this policy has been converted into legislation that is now pending before the State legislature. She is a recent former chair of EPA’s Federal Advisory Committee for Environmental Justice, and serves on several other boards.
Our final speaker will be Diane Takvorian. She has been involved in the struggle for Social & Environmental Justice for nearly 30 years. She is the Director and Founder of EHC, the Environmental Health Coalition, which is an Environmental Justice Organization in San Diego that started in 1980. She works to protect public health and the environment threatened by toxic pollution through efforts that create a just society. Through the community organizing and policy advocacy of EHC, hundreds of residents have been able to develop into community leaders, and many health risks have been eliminated.
Diane serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the Environmental Research Foundation board of directors, the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission, to which she was appointed by Clinton, and the Environmental Advisory Committee for San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy. She currently serves as co-chair of the California EPA’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, as well. Diane also has served on the faculty at San Diego State University School of Social Work. Diane will be our final speaker.
I want to personally thank the speakers. Now I’ll turn it over to Wilma.
Wilma Subra, MS, Louisiana Environmental Action Network and member of the Executive Committee of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council
Thank you for the opportunity to present information on cumulative impacts and environmental stressors. The National Environmental Justice Advisory Council -- which you’ve heard referred to as NEJAC, formed a cumulative risk impacts workgroup in early 2003. The results of the work of that workgroup were entitled, “Ensuring Risk Reduction in Communities with Multiple Stressors.”
This report was actually issued in draft form in January 2004, and was the topic of an NEJAC council meeting in April of 2004 in New Orleans. It will be final and available to the public very shortly. We’ve been promised over and over again, “Any day, now.”
The communities confronting environmental justice issues are historically disadvantaged and underserved. They’re environmentally overburdened, and they suffer adverse health conditions. The physical, chemical and biological -- as well as the social and cultural factors -- result in these communities and sub-populations within these communities -- being 1 -- more susceptible to environmental toxins, 2 -- being more exposed, and 3 -- having compromised abilities to actually cope with or recover from all of these exposures.
The stressors are the things that cause the adverse responses, and actually promote both risks and impacts. When we’re dealing with multiple stressors, they consist of chemical exposure. That’s where the majority of us on the phone usually deal with the chemical exposures. But these multiple stressors also include things such as physical, biological, social, cultural, and economic factors that cause adverse responses related to the disadvantaged, underserved and overburdened communities.
The vulnerability is having pre-existing physical and social deficits that make the effects of the environmental pollution even more burdensome on these communities. Some of the vulnerability factors include the community’s susceptibility or sensitivities, such as genetic predisposition to disease, the effects on the fetus, the impacts on children, compromised immune systems and pre-existing health conditions.
Then you have the differential exposures, such as the proximity of the community to pollution sources, employment in the high-exposure, and the employment exposure is usually in the low-level dangerous jobs. There is also past exposure and multiple routes of exposure to chemicals and multiple exposures to different chemicals and different pollutants.
Then there is the lack of information regarding the impacts of exposure. These community members tend to have these jobs, but no information on which to gauge the exposure.
Then there’s this big differential preparedness and differential ability on the part of these communities to actually recover, such as poor nutrition, compromised health and immune systems, being poor or having no health care. Even if they have health care, they don’t know how to address the environmental impact.
In order to reduce these risks and improve human health and the quality of life in these communities, all or a large number of these factors need to be addressed. And the risks associated with these factors need to be reduced and managed. One of the tools for performing such a task in communities has been developed as an outgrowth of an NEJAC report. I’ve developed this tool in conjunction with Hank Topper of EPA Headquarters. We’ve consulted with over 30 individuals from a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
It’s called the Community Environmental and Health Assessment and Action Roadmap. It has as its goals, improving community understanding of the environmental and environmental health impacts and risk factors, building consensus among all of the sectors of the community that will be needed to take effective action to address these factors, mobilize the community sectors, and have its partners take effective action to reduce environmental impacts and risks. Frequently, the partners are the ones that have the resources -- both financial and technical -- to help the communities address these. The basic elements of the process include identifying the environmental health and related social and economic concerns of the community. Identifying the community’s vulnerabilities that may increase these risks from environmental stresses. And identify community assets - no matter how poor and disadvantaged these communities are, they always have some. Then next is identifying the concerns and vulnerabilities that everyone in the community agree need to be immediately acted upon, and to begin work to address these concerns and vulnerabilities. Then to build a collaborative partnership that is able to participate in the community process. Mobilize the resources necessary to address the community goals of reducing environmental risks. Through working with the communities to identify and address the impact of cumulative risks and multiple stressors, the long-term capabilities of all sectors in the community will be increased and the health of the community will be dramatically improved.
Veronica Eady, JD, General Counsel for West Harlem Environmental Action
I wanted to talk a little bit about tools that communities can use to help address cumulative exposure and what legal handles might be in the stated policies.
For starters, generally environmental laws do have citizen suit provisions. Here and there you sort of find ad hoc language that might mention cumulative impacts. EPA has the authority to review cumulative risks, unique exposure pathways and sensitive populations.
The language exists under a variety of laws. But there doesn’t seem any sort of silver bullet in the laws that communities at risk might be looking for to help them. In one respect, again, with any environmental justice or environmental health work, there’s a need to think creatively about how you use the laws.
But I did want to mention one case, which unfortunately was an unfavorable case. We’ve mostly all heard South Camden Citizens in Action, which was the Title VI case in 2001 that was overturned by the Sandoval Case. There were about 4 different decisions. The original one actually was a huge victory, and continues to be a huge victory -- in that the court actually talked about cumulative exposure. It actually told New Jersey DEP to go back and look at these cumulative exposures that this community in South Camden was exposed to. Even though that case is no longer valid, I think that that language provides a really good framework for communities and lawyers and others to think about how to attack cumulative exposure from a legal standpoint.
Over the years, EPA has done a number of different studies and reports around cumulative exposure, including the Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment, which EPA released in draft in 2002.
There have been spot reports that EPA has done in research around pesticide exposure, and things like that -- cumulative pesticide exposure, and exposure to different families of chemicals. Those have been important strides.
Finally, Wilma mentioned the NEJAC report that was sent up to the administrator earlier this year on ensuring risk-reduction in communities with multiple stressors. Wilma, I’m just going to go ahead and talk a little bit about this, and when we open up for questions, I think Wilma is actually better positioned to talk about this than I am. She worked directly on it. I had a sort of ceremonial role in it as the chair of NEJAC.
I wanted to share with you the recommendations that came out of that report. There were several good ones, and I’m going to actually read straight from the report.
“To address and overcome programmatic and regulatory fragmentation within EPA’s nation’s environmental protection regime.” There were a number of recommendations that came out of this. “To fully incorporate the concept of vulnerability -- especially at social and cultural aspects, into EPA’s strategic plans and research agendas.”
Over the last few years, EPA and in particular, the Office of Environmental Justice, have moved toward community-based participatory research -- and are in fact, funding community-based participatory research -- which I think is a big victory. It’s good that this language is on the tips of their tongues, right now. They’re assisting communities to work in collaboration and to work on this research.
In fact, WE ACT has set an example of working really closely with the School of Public Health in Colombia. We’ve had a number of research projects that have come out through that sort of partnership.
“To incorporate social, economic, cultural and community health factors, particularly those involving vulnerability and EPA decision-making, to develop and implement efficient screening, targeting and prioritization methods, and flash tools, and to identify communities needing immediate intervention. So, better tools for identifying communities that are exposed to cumulative risks. To address capacity and resource issues, human organizational, technical and financial, within EPA and the States, within impacted communities and tribes and among all relevant stakeholders.”
Then there are a number of action items within EPA. There are a number, but I’ll just touch on a few. “EPA should initiate community-based collaborative, multimedia and risk-reduction pilot projects, to work with communities to try to help understand some of these issues.” Again, one of the important things is having the community playing a really vital role in identifying the problems. Not just having researchers do the work and tell communities what’s wrong.
“Providing resources to community-based organizations, promoting incentives for business and industry, conducting scientific and stakeholder dialogues in ways that enhance scientific understanding of the collaborative problem solving, lay the scientific bases for incorporating vulnerability into EPA assessment tools, strategic plans and research agendas, and produce guidance on greater use of statutory authority.” I think that’s an important one.
“Establish an agency wide live framework for holistic, health, risk-based environmental decision-making and incorporation of tribal, traditional life ways in Indian countries. Strengthen EPA’s social, science-capacity and community expertise. And, finally, “Integrate the concepts of NEJAC’s cumulative risks and impacts report into EPA’s strategic and budget-planning processes.”
These are some of the things that came out of the 18 months to 2 years of conversation of the workgroup that Wilma was involved with, that she mentioned.
There hasn’t been a response yet from the EPA administrator. So it’s difficult to predict what might happen. I think most of us heard about the upheaval that’s going on at EPA, and the uncertainty associated around the Office of Environmental Justice. Of course, if you haven’t heard of it, just think about the political climate that we’re in, and the opinions of the current administration on the environment and other socially progressive agenda items. That’s where we stand.
In the meantime, I don’t want to project that it’s a bad time for communities. It is, but during these times, we seem to pull together and find creative tools on our own. I actually think that it’s a time when we do a lot of capacity building on our own, in time for the movement to build and regenerate itself.
Diane Takvorian, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Coalition
I wanted to thank CHE for the invitation and for the great work that you do and for the presentations by Wilma and Veronica. I want to focus on the efforts to advance Environmental Justice in California, specifically focusing on both the strategies and the policies that are emerging, related to cumulative impacts. For those of you who may not be familiar, the California Environmental Protection Agency is comprised of the six wards and departments that focus on Air, Pesticides, Toxic Substance Control and Waste Cleanup, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the State Water Resources Control Board. The CAL-EPA really focuses on all aspects of environmental health.
During the period of 1999 to 2001, there was a series of legislative actions that directed CALEPA to address Environmental Justice and it defined Environmental Justice for the State of California. These bills also established the California Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, which is comprised of 17 stakeholders, which include Environmental Justice and Community and Environmental representatives, government, and industry representatives, as well as tribes. The focus of the California Environmental Justice Advisory Committee is to advice the Secretary of CALEPA and all the heads of the boards, departments and offices.
After over two years of work, in September of 2003, the Advisory Committee issued over 100 recommendations, which were accepted by the CALEPA Secretary. These recommendations were consolidated into four goals. There are a number of organizations and individuals on this call and throughout the State of California, and actually beyond, who did a tremendous amount of work to ensure that these recommendations were adopted and I really want to thank them.
The key recommendations really focused on adoption of a precautionary approach, assessment of cumulative impacts, pollution and pollution prevention as well as public participation. Those were the major recommendations that were inserted into the report that, as I said, were accepted by the Secretary of CALEPA.
Just to ensure this has a political context, two weeks after these recommendations were adopted, Governor Davis was recalled, and we had a new governor, Governor Schwarzenegger. Many people within the CALEPA structure were eliminated, so we lived through about a year of reconstruction for the California political environment. The Advisory Committee has been reconstituted. The precautionary approach and cumulative impacts are both at the top of the agenda for the Advisory Committee to move forward with.
The working definition that has been established by the Advisory Committee for cumulative impacts is posted on the CHE website. I’ll just review it. “Cumulative impacts” means, “Exposures, public health or environmental effects from the combined emissions and discharges in a geographic area -- including environmental pollution from all sources, whether single or multimedia -- routinely, accidentally or otherwise released. Impacts will take into account sensitive populations and socioeconomic factors where applicable and to the extent data are available.”
As you might imagine, the last statement related to the inclusion of socioeconomic factors, which was the most controversial and was strongly opposed by the industry and Chamber of Commerce representatives.
This definition was adopted along with a definition of the precautionary approach. Both of those definitions are intended to be working definitions that will be utilized in Environmental Justice pilot projects that are being undertaken by each of the board’s departments and offices. For instance, there is a pilot project that focuses on pesticides, one on water quality, and another on air toxics in urban neighborhoods.
The intention of these pilot projects is to establish real-time opportunities, to assess cumulative impacts, and to utilize a precautionary approach. The idea here is that these pilot projects are really a chance to identify cumulative impacts and to identify methods by which they would be assessed, and to establish precautionary methods for addressing these issues.
I would love to say that all of the pilot projects are precisely doing that, but we have established criteria that requires that they address cumulative impacts, that they utilize a precautionary approach, that they include extensive public participation, and that most of all, they be community-driven. Those are the criteria by which these pilot projects will be assessed by the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, and those are just getting started, so I don’t have anything to report yet in terms of what the success of those projects will be.
We are hopeful that as these projects are developed and implemented and come back with community recommendations regarding how cumulative impacts were assessed, how successfully and how effectively that was utilized, and how precautionary approach is utilized to address the issues, that these will have policy ramifications, and that we will develop both administrative and legislative policy recommendations that will then be moved forward in 2006.
The last thing I’ll say is that one thing has moved forward. It isn’t directly related to cumulative impacts, but I think it has a strong relevancy to it. The Air Resources Board of California has just issued what we think is the first-ever land-use guidance. It doesn’t require, but strongly recommends that land-use planners in municipalities and local governments review the location of sensitive uses of schools, daycare centers and residences in proximity to polluting facilities. For some polluting facilities, they have actually issued guidance in terms of the amount of separation that should be included in any plans for development of either new sensitive uses or permitting of new polluting facilities.
This has a cumulative impact relevance, because in many of our environmental justice communities, there are so many facilities that are polluting that it would essentially be impossible to put in a new sensitive-use or put in a new polluting facility because it’s a distance recommendation. There are distance recommendations for freeways, for instance chrome plating facilities and auto body facilities. There are emerging tougher requirements and recommendations for ports and other places where goods movement occurs.
5. Open Discussion
Steve Heilig: Thank you to all of our speakers for your presentations and your commitment. This is a very broad-based and complicated issue. We’re now going to open it up to questions.
Kathleen Burns, PhD, Sciencecorps.org: In trying to get assistance from the Environment Protection Agency’s Office of Compliance and Environmental Justice, I was also referred by some of their staff to the American Bar Association’s Environmental Justice Committee. In your experience, is that a good group to approach for assistance on some of these issues?
Veronica Eady: I’m actually part of the Environmental Justice Committee, which is a part of the American Bar Association. It’s actually a part of the section on Individual Rights & Responsibilities, also referred to as IRR. They’re definitely a great group to approach. They have gathered a lot of information on legal tools that are available in a general sort of environmental justice context. That of course reaches to this context. I think they are a good group and good to reach out to.
Ronald H. Saff, MD, Allergy & Asthma Diagnostic Treatment Center: Here in Florida, there’s really a lack of concern for the environment. We have plans for all these coal-fired power plants to come up online within the next couple of years. I’m wondering, in the current political climate here, it seems like the only way to get anything done to stop these power plants, especially the coal-fired ones which are the biggest polluters, is perhaps a direct lawsuit. Because people that live close by these power plants are getting harmed. I’m wondering if the group here knows of any private law firm that is directly suing some of these coal-fired power plants. So I’ll throw it out to the group of environmental justice people. Wouldn’t this be a good strategy to stop the polluters, to sue them directly?
Steve Heilig: It is a strategy that has been used in some contexts. Perhaps we can put this question into our transcripts here and see if anybody thinks of any particular resources on this.
Diane Takvorian: Part of the concerns that we’ve experienced is that there are very few handles for suits. I don’t know a lot about coal-fired power plants, but I do think that you need someone really to ensure that you’ve got the handles, because the laws often are not good enough.
Marian Feinberg, For A Better Bronx: Our experience in environmental justice is that lawsuits are very hard to win and they take a very long time. The longer it takes, the more likely it is the construction is going to be completed and the operation is going to be going. Once something is already operating, to get it to stop is very hard work. In general, the more organizing and advocacy that can be done, and the more mobilized people get, those kinds of things tend to actually work better than the legal system does.
Anjuli Gupta, Health and Environment Project Coordinator, Center for Environmental Health: I know that there have been some questions about background information on cumulative impacts. I wanted to point out that Urban Habitat created a really great overview of cumulative exposures and impacts. That is currently posted on the website.
My question is for each of the speakers. If you have maybe a brief take-home message for people who are working in a disease-specific arena on how to incorporate cumulative impact analysis, that might be helpful.
Steve Heilig: I think that’s an important point. Some of the science resources were mentioned at the beginning, and are on the website and on the “Our Stolen Future” website. I’m wondering if people on the call, any of our speakers or others, have any real advice along those lines, because you really have to have your science in order to start to approach regulators and the media on this.
Sylvia Swan, TriCounty Watchdogs: We’ve made major steps in our community, in fighting an incinerator-type facility that is not properly regulated. We’ve put a stop to their Title V permit 70, so far. The most-important item we found is numbers. If you can organize your community and have some members and comment letters and also contacting your legislators, regardless of whether or not you use a legal avenue. My contact information is there. I have familiarity with quite a few groups throughout the country that are dealing with this issue. I’m more than happy to share that information with you.
Steve Heilig: We can post that, as well. Any other speakers? How do you work with the community and the scientists and others that give you the background information?
Sylvia Swan: We contacted the Cancer Surveillance Group in California. They in turn, turned us over to Public Health and they sent us a letter saying that dioxin is not cancer causing. It took my breath away. I’m trying to work with a lot of these companies that are converting to biodiesels now. The increase in emissions and the harm to the individuals is still not studied. The counties and the regulators are opting to get away from natural gas or other hazards. It’s a trade off and may not in fact be the best solution as far as the health impacts to the people. There’s a lot of work in that area that still needs to be done. Having the central database of those scientists is where I think a large part of their problem lies. It leaves the burden of responsibility on the public and the community members. It’s a very difficult thing to become informed on these issues, to effectively communicate your concern.
Philip R. Lee, MD, Professor Emeritus of Social Medicine, UCSF and the Institute for Health Policy Studies, Stanford University, Program in Human Biology: I wanted to comment on that letter from the Department of Public Health. Dick Jackson of course is the Director of Public Health. Somebody ought to communicate directly with him about that. This is outrageous. One other question I asked is for Diane. That is, I think she brought up some very important issues about the role of the state. This is the time when we’re likely to see something happening at the state level, and certainly not at the federal level. I’m wondering if she could at least maybe put on the website or even make some comments about it. I heard on the news this morning about Schwarzenegger supporting legislation that would authorize a million new solar-powered houses and businesses in California. Are there other areas where we might have some opportunities? The Air Resources Board -- clearly, that’s another area of opportunity. Are there areas of opportunity? If California can take the lead in several of these areas, then it can provide, hopefully, some models for other states to take action.
Diane Takvorian: Thanks, Phil, for the question. I think the new Solar Home Initiative, the tax credit initiative is important. The Governor has indicated obviously strong support for that. He also has his Hydrogen Highway initiative, which has pretty important critiques that need to be done of it. He has expressed support for alternatives to diesel, which, according to the data that we have at this point, comprise 50-70 percent of the air toxins that are particularly in urban communities. But I think the comment about the bio-diesel is very important. That’s something that I know here we have 30 percent of the Navy in San Diego, and there are lots of Department of Defense facilities in California, as there are in other places. But they are strongly pushing the use of bio-diesel as a way to address the diesel issues. There is a diesel phase-out retrofit program in place. It’s not all that ambitious in California, but it is there. I think that’s an opportunity. We have the potential to change that framework, and to advance it in the right way. I do think that additional research on the impacts of bio-diesel is pretty important. The Air Resource Board, I think, from an Environmental Justice perspective, has been really in the lead of the CALEPA agencies. The land-use guidance is very forward thinking. It’s so important for Environmental Justice communities, because it does make that link between land-use planning through all of our communities that are growing so fast. Now there’s an emphasis on increasing density in urban communities. We really need to make that link. I think that’s another opportunity that exists.
Guy Dauncey, The Solutions Project: Just two very brief resources. At the state level, the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act that came in 1989 is still one of the best pieces of legislation at the state level. I did a recent write-up on that for an outfit in Scotland, and I can send that over to be posted, if you want. The second is a book by Steve Lerner that’s just been published, called Diamond, about the struggle for environmental justice in Louisiana’s chemical corridor.
Karen Goodson Pierce, President, Bayview Hunters Point Health and Environmental Assessment Task Force: I want to answer the original question about this, how the Environmental Justice grassroots communities are fighting and succeeding. The bottom line is, we have a hard time getting the scientists and the physicians that will support us. But in San Francisco, we’ve had a fight for over 10 years. We have succeeded in twice stopping new power plants by simply digging in our heels, going to every hearing and raising these issues about cumulative impacts to the point where it becomes too expensive for the corporation that’s proposing the new power plant. At the grassroots level, we just dig in our heels and keep fighting and understand all of the issues, including the financial problems that we can cause a large corporation.
Steve Heilig: Thank you. We’re up on the end of our hour, here. I want to thank all of our speakers and Urban Habitat for helping organize this. I will turn it over to Eleni Sotos for closing.
Eleni Sotos: I just want to mention that our next Partnership call is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14th at 9 am PT, noon ET. We’re going to be looking at the health outcomes related to lead exposure. Also, on June 9th, we will be having a National CHE Reception in New York City, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Information on both of those events is on the website, and we look forward to hearing back from you next month. Thanks, everyone.