by Patrick DeMichele '20
Amazon has grown rapidly in the last few years, and has particularly expanded its presence in California. This expansion has resulted in millions of additional square feet of warehouse space in California. Warehouse distribution centers are sources of high levels of pollution, and their placement exacerbates existing inequality. The life expectancy in West Fresno is 20 years lower than it is on the east suburbs, partially due to pollution -- Amazon’s newest warehouse was opened in Fresno this past year. New warehouses have been further polluting vulnerable communities, such problems worsened by the gentrification epidemic caused by the California real estate boom. Warehouse openings have been met with protests by local residents. The California Environmental Justice Alliance has supported bill AB 2447 as a policy step against this trend -- this bill seeks to establish “Green Zones” in vulnerable communities, which means catalyzing community-led initiatives to combat environmental damage and emphasize sustainability. AB 2447 did not take a radical stand against the industry giant perpetrators of aforementioned environmental damage, but nonetheless would have been an important measure in encouraging grassroots sustainability in affected communities. Despite this, Gov. Brown vetoed the bill on September 30th, 2018, citing it as “too prescriptive”.
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