Last June, the Advocacy Lab submitted public comments on behalf of the Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative urging the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to deny the permit applications of several concrete manufacturers that for years have been operating illegally in the low-income BIPOC neighborhood of Bayview-Hunters Point, San Francisco.

In our comments, we noted that the Air District had failed to protect the health of the community for years by allowing these facilities to operate without valid permits, contributing to the elevated levels of air pollution in the area. Pollution from concrete production is linked to significant health problems, and numerous studies have shown a correlation between unregulated air pollution with aggravated respiratory disease as well as susceptibility to COVID-19.

Bayview-Hunters Point is a low-income community of color which unfortunately, like so many communities of color around the country, is disproportionately impacted by many sources of pollution. According to CalEPA’s CalEnviroScreen 4.0, Bayview-Hunters Point is ranked in the top percentiles for vulnerability to pollution (between 83-93%), meaning residents experience a higher pollution burden than up to 93% of the rest of the entire state of California. The Air District itself has specifically designated Bayview-Hunters Point as an area that is disproportionately impacted by air pollution as part of its “Community Air Risk Evaluation” (CARE) program.

Many thanks to Professor Zsea Bowmani and Alana Ako ’21 for drafting comments in support of the Mothers and Fathers Committee as well as other residents of Bayview-Hunters Point who live in close proximity to these facilities. Our efforts were part of a broader coalition of advocates, academic institutions, and community groups, including the Bayview Hunters Point Mothers and Fathers Committee, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, and our colleagues at the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law.

Read our public comment below.