Clean Water Fund and Partners Co-Launch Community Air Monitors in Lost Hills, a California Frontline Community
This evening, Clean Water Fund, Blue Tomorrow environmental consulting, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network will co-launch seven air monitors in key locations across Lost Hills, California to monitor air quality for two years. The launch will take place at 14688 Lost Hills Road in Lost Hills, CA at 7 p.m. Clean Water Fund, in partnership with the Central California Environmental Justice Network and a Lost Hills resident advocacy group—“Comite Lost Hills En Accion” (Committee Lost Hills In Action) successfully pursued a community air grant from the California Air Resources Board to fund the air monitoring project.
Lost Hills, a community located about 45 minutes northwest of Bakersfield, is immediately adjacent to and downwind of the sixth largest oilfield in California and abuts large agribusiness almond orchards. The town’s 2,200 residents, many of whom are farmworkers, are primarily LatinX and low-income.
Blue Tomorrow, a Santa Barbara based environmental consulting firm, will build and deploy the monitors, which will collect continuous air quality data to be displayed in real time and made accessible to community members. The monitors will track levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Particulate Matter, Volatile Organic Compounds, and Methane. The June 3rd monitors launch will include a presentation by Blue Tomorrow and a discussion of the project with Clean Water Fund’s Environmental Justice Community Organizer, Jesus Alonso.
“This effort is a monumental step forward for the health and lives of Lost Hills families. With access to this air monitoring data, residents will be able to better protect their families from harmful air contaminants and more-equipped to fight for policy changes that will improve community-wide air quality” said Jesus Alonso, Environmental Justice organizer for Clean Water Fund.
Alex Dragos, founder of Blue Tomorrow, noted "We work with community groups to monitor air pollution and other environmental issues to help people better understand their environment and improve their health. Here in Lost Hills, we're using monitoring systems we developed that continuously detect harmful air pollutants at multiple locations throughout the community. This data is being transmitted in real-time to a public website (losthillsair.com) so residents can track pollution levels and reduce their exposure."
In preparation for this air monitor launch, Clean Water Fund conducted a health survey in Lost Hills that demonstrated significant overlap in pollution-related health concerns among residents including headaches, nose bleeds, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular issues. This project is a significant development in an ongoing fight to track air pollution in frontline communities and equip residents with real-time data that can be used to advocate for community protections.
Clean Water Fund's mission is to develop strong grassroots environmental leadership and to bring together diverse constituencies to work cooperatively for changes that improve their lives, focused on health, consumer, environmental and community problems.