EJS Legal Director Allison Elgart provided public comment on May 24 before the California Public Utilities Commission in opposition to a natural gas storage project proposed for Sacramento’s Avondale/Glen Elder neighborhoods, which are largely African American.
Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC), which is advocating for the community, is helping coordinate efforts to ensure that all voices are heard on this proposed project.
“85% of the residents of the community are people of color. The gas storage facility will be located directly underneath schools, parks, and community centers. Given the alternative sites and a weak argument for need, approval of the Project would work an environmental injustice and a racially disparate impact,” said Allison before the CPUC.
“This project can disproportionately harm this community and contribute to stigmatizing both the people and place of Avondale/Glen Elder. It must not be approved.”
The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the Sacramento Natural Gas (SNGS) Storage Project in South Sacramento confirms the project community’s health and safety concerns by identifying three significant environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated.
The Final EIR states: “Gas migration could result in groundwater impacts, health effects, and potentially flash fires or explosions. Therefore, this impact is considered significant.”
The Avondale/Glen Elder neighborhoods of Sacramento are historic treasures and represent the hopes and dreams of generations of people, past and present.
These neighborhoods originated as largely African American communities during WWII, as labor for the U.S. military was recruited from the South.
In more recent decades, Latino and South East Asian immigrant populations have increasingly called these neighborhoods home as they work to achieve the American Dream.
The Proposed SNGS Project would be the first of its kind in a pre-existing, densely residential neighborhood.