Los Angeles County Launches Environmental Justice Department

The new department will develop plans for addressing the impacts of air and water pollution, extreme heat, and climate change on vulnerable communities.

1 minute read

November 17, 2022, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial top-down view of multicolored big rig trucks in lines at the Port of Los Angeles

Trucks hauling cargo from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach create high levels of greenhouse gas emissions throughout communities along the 710 corridor. | Flystock / Trucks at the Port of Los Angeles

A new Los Angeles County office created by the Board of Supervisors will focus on environmental justice, reports Steve Scauzillo in the Los Angeles Daily News. “The new department will develop a strategy for addressing environmental pollution, which disproportionately affects low-income communities and people of color, the supervisors said.”

Supervisors want to see the new office assess a variety of environmental hazards, such as communities harmed by pollution from traffic, including neighborhoods along the busy corridors that shuttle goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to distribution centers in the Inland Empire and beyond; communities affected by battery plants and other industrial polluters; and neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by extreme heat that would benefit from cooling strategies to keep homes and public spaces safe for residents.

According to Supervisor Janice Hahn, as quoted in the article, “The agency would collect data and hold industries accountable for environmental degradation or potential public health hot spots.” Supervisor Hahn added that finding methods to keep homes and neighborhoods cool is more important than providing cooling centers, which frequently go unused, saying, “We should be meeting people where they are to stay cool in their homes.”

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