Statement issued by Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability following a vote by the California Air Resources Board to phase out ag burning.
FRESNO — While we are pleased that CARB voted to phase out agricultural (ag) burning in the San Joaquin Valley by 2025 and require development and implementation of a plan to do so by August 2021, CARB did not go far enough today to respond to the risks facing Valley residents.
CARB’s unanimous decision does not alleviate the extreme and disproportionate health burdens residents will face for these interim years due to ag burning, or deliver the regulatory relief residents have said is needed right now. Specifically, we are disappointed that CARB did not require adequate public notification systems or greater enforcement of illegal burns.
Valley Air District officials must begin to work immediately with impacted communities to develop a community-driven, enforceable, health protective plan that will eliminate ag burning well before 2025. Such a plan must not replace one polluting practice with another.
“The lack of community inclusion really does show in the history of these reports and recommendations,” Shayda Azamian, Leadership Counsel Climate Policy Coordinator, said. “So many residents disproportionately impacted by this polluting practice have never been asked to join these discussions in the almost 20 years of heightened attention to ag burning. Impacted communities deserve the clearest information about these polluting activities near their homes, and a seat at the table to set the course for cleaner air in our region. We don’t deserve to breathe polluted air even one more day.”