Anabel Marquez was on her way to church one day when she saw a group of people heading to a meeting. She asked what the meeting was about, and they said pesticides.
She was intrigued.
“Everything they said, I lived it,” Marquez said in Spanish.
Marquez, who lives in Shafter, 20 miles northwest of Bakersfield, said she knows and has heard about many people who have been sickened from pollution. Looking around the community she has lived in for nine years – surrounded by oil fields, dairies and agriculture – Marquez said there are many things that may have caused the illnesses.
“We don’t have to fight over who contaminates more or who contaminates less. We have to be conscious that everything contaminates,” Marquez said. “It’s not about who does it more and who does it less.”
On Thursday night, Marquez joined other San Joaquin Valley residents celebrating a historic step taken inside the Shafter veterans hall.
The California Air Resources Board met there following a tour in Shafter and another earlier in the day in south Fresno. After several hours, and at times battling over details and ideas, the board approved plans for both communities that outline ways to reduce emissions, including working with local industries.
California adopts first air pollution measures targeting local emissions in Central Valley, by Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado, The Frenso Bee, February, 15, 2020.