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San Diego County Supervisors Add Environmental Justice Office

Ship unloading goods at a port facility in National City on Mar. 29, 2021.
Erik Anderson
Ship unloading goods at a port facility in National City on Mar. 29, 2021.
San Diego County Supervisors vote to pay more attention to climate and environmental justice.

San Diego County is getting an office of Climate and Environmental Justice.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to create an office that will help county officials incorporated climate and environmental justice into the government panel’s future actions.

District 1 Supervisor Nora Vargas called on the panel to adopt the measure.

She said the county should work to reduce pollution’s impact on the county’s poor residents.

RELATED: Port Of San Diego, Neighboring Community Striving For Cleaner Air

“Every moment we delay it further increases the disparity of health creates a disparity of health, life expectancy and quality of life by the privileged and the disadvantaged,” Vargas said. “The hesitation to act comes at the cost of the lives of people of color and the working class.”

She said communities all over the county are affected.

“In my own district, the communities of Barrio Logan and National City rank in the top 5% in the state for diesel and air pollution,” Vargas said. “Childrens’ hospitalization rates for asthma are three times more than the county average."

Oceanside and other locations suffer as well from policies that exposed people of color to more pollution than other county residents.

“We’re proud of being a border community, however, as a result," Vargas said. "In San Ysidro, residents are exposed to pollution from vehicles that are waiting for hours at the ports of entry.”

RELATED: Climate Advocates Push San Diego’s Sempra Energy For Change

The office will focus on helping the county reduce air pollution and reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, particularly in communities of color.

The county will set up the office over the next three months.

San Diego County Supervisors Add Environmental Justice Office
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.