Two dozen environmental justice (EJ) groups have come out in support of CalEPA ordering the Kern County ag commissioner to adopt a pesticide notification system.

“[The commissioner] has proven again and again that his sole allegiance is to the profits of the agricultural industry, and not to the health and welfare of the people he is charged with protecting,” said Anabel Márquez in a statement. “We are all disgusted and disappointed by his response and that of the ag industry.”

Marquez is a community activist with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, one of the EJ groups. Yet she is listed as a resident and not an advocate on the AB 617 steering committee, the group advising CalEPA’s emissions reduction program in Shafter. The committee was pushing for a system long championed by EJ groups, rather than working to reach a compromise with the commissioner’s counterproposal.

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The groups said they would “be proud to play a role in expanding the right to know” and their notification system to the whole state. Their next step is to call on the Kern County Board of Supervisors to overrule the ag commissioner.

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