San Bernardino, October 23, 2023 — In a proactive step towards addressing the challenges posed by the proliferation of warehousing in the Inland Empire, environmental justice advocates and long-standing community members commend the Inland Empire Warehouse Roundtable convened on October 23rd. As sponsors of AB 1000 (Reyes), they extend their gratitude for the invitation to this critical forum.
Since 1980, the Inland Empire has witnessed an unprecedented surge in warehouse development, soaring from 234 to over 4,000, covering nearly 40 square miles of the region's land. This seventeen-fold increase underscores the urgent need for policies mitigating the environmental impact on the community. Advocates have persistently championed measures like setbacks between warehouses and sensitive receptors, emphasizing the imperative to curb pollution from these facilities.
AB 1000 stands as a testament to prior efforts to address this challenge. Advocates had previously championed AB 2840 (Reyes, 2022) and engaged with stakeholders through various channels, including a comprehensive report sent to Governor Newsom titled, "A Region in Crisis: The Rationale for a Public Health State of Emergency in the Inland Empire." This report meticulously outlined concerns and policy recommendations aimed at rectifying the crisis.
While appreciating the roundtable as a platform for dialogue, advocates express reservations regarding its efficacy. Holding the roundtable at the Labor Hall of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 783, an entity opposed to both AB 1000 and AB 2840, raises concerns about impartiality. The choice of location signals, at the very least, a preference that could potentially skew the roundtable's outcomes, undermining confidence in a neutral discourse.
Furthermore, advocates question the timing of the roundtable, citing limited opportunities for meaningful discussions among stakeholders. This abbreviated timeframe falls short of enabling a comprehensive exploration of this critical issue. Given the extended duration of the combined hearing for AB 1000 and AB 1748 in the Assembly Local Government earlier this year, it is imperative to allocate sufficient time for a robust dialogue that ensures all voices are heard.
In addition, advocates stress the importance of close coordination with Assemblymember Reyes' Office moving forward. The feedback from the Assembly Local Government Committee underscored the need for joint efforts in addressing this issue. The absence of Assemblymember Reyes' leadership in the planning and facilitation of this roundtable raises concerns about the seriousness of this endeavor.
While uncertainties surround the next steps, advocates reiterate their commitment to engaging on this paramount issue affecting their community. They eagerly anticipate future discussions that will yield concrete solutions to the pervasive warehousing challenge in the Inland Empire.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Ana Gonzalez, Executive Director CCAEJ, Ana.email@example.com