Environmental Justice Victories

Dear Refugio,

Thanks to you, we’re taking big steps toward a world where Latino communities have fresh air, clean water, and good jobs. Powered by your voice – and the voices of nearly 10,000 other Presente members – we’ve helped to win historic legislative victories this year for clean energy.

In the process, we’ve exposed Latino politicians who took the side of the oil and gas companies after taking their money. By speaking out, you refused to allow the political voice of Latinos to be used as a tool for the dirty energy industry.

We’re beginning to turn the tide away from dirty energy – but pollution still plagues our communities, and the oil and gas companies will stop at nothing to protect their profits. We need to keep going.

Unlike many organizations, we don’t take money from big corporations that could undermine our work. We rely on you, our members, to power our campaigns.

Can you chip in $5 right now to help us be ready for the fights ahead?

Together with our partners, we won a series of important environmental victories in California that will reduce the hazardous pollution that disproportionately impacts Latino communities, and create new jobs and economic opportunities in clean energy.1 These victories set the stage to expand our community’s ability to act on climate change and to hold politicians that betray us accountable.

  • AB 693 creates the nation’s largest program to grow solar power in low-income neighborhoods.
  • AB 1288 adds two representatives to the California Air Resource Board to work directly with vulnerable low income communities.
  • AB 1071 directs a percentage of fines collected from polluters towards projects that benefit communities of color.
  • SB 673 protects low-income neighborhoods from the effects of hazardous waste.
  • SB 350 mandates a 50 percent increase in renewable energy, prioritizing low income communities — the most ambitious proposal if its kind in the country.

Presente members played a key role in these victories. We put targeted pressure on lawmakers at strategic moments in the legislative process. Our gente spoke courageously in the media — like Evelyn García, whose brother suffers from asthma and is fighting a dirty gas power plant in Oxnard, a city that’s already heavily burdened by pollution.2 And we successfully pushed back against the false narrative that fighting pollution is bad for Latinos, defeating the dishonest tactics of dirty energy lobbyists and the politicians they fund.

We know that the dirty energy industry will do its best to undermine these new lawsand keep profiting from pollution in California. So we need to keep the pressure on California, and we need to expand this work to other states where pollution is destroying the health of Latino communities.

Will you chip in $5 today to help Presente stay in these fights?

We’ve seen first hand how the dirty energy industry uses its money and influence to destroy progress. These recent victories would have been even bigger if it weren’t for the fact that Big Oil – and the politicians it funds – watered down SB 350 and killed SB 32, which would have reduced greenhouse emissions.3 Presente has been instrumental in exposing the politicians doing Big Oil’s dirty work: we got the L.A. Times, one of the most influential newspapers in the country, to report on why we were closely watching how black and Latino legislators voted on climate change legislation.4

Now it’s time to up the ante. What’s happening in California is happening all over the country. As the world wakes up to the catastrophic impact of dirty energy, we have a huge opportunity to stop pollution in our communities and create new jobs in a clean energy economy. But we’re up against well-funded oil lobbyists that have been building their influence for years by buying the support of Latino organizations and politicians. We know we can win – we just need the resources to expand our organizing and bring your voice into more of these fights.

Will you chip in $5 or more to help Presente win?

Thank you for all you do and ¡adelante!

– Favianna, Oscar, Matt, Erick, and the Presente.org team.

1. “Environmental Justice Victories in the 2015 Legislative Session”California Environment Justice Alliance, September 2015.
2. “Low-Income Communities Will Be Hit Hardest If We Don’t Wean Off Fossil Fuels“, Latino Rebels, September 7, 2015.
3. “California Legislature fails us on climate change“, San Francisco Chronicle,September 11, 2015.
4. “Why climate law advocates are watching these black and Latino lawmakers“, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2015.