Environmental impact of warehousing theme of weekend clean air summit in Riverside

WAREHOUSE FLYOVER

Steven Cuevas

A portion of the Inland Empire's vast warehousing sector as seen flying into LAX-Ontario International Airport. Environmental summit in Riverside hones in on warehousing in the Inland Empire and the effect that has on surrounding neighborhoods.

Representatives from the federal Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in Jurupa Valley is sponsoring the summit. Director Penny Newman says it’s one of many Inland towns that accommodate large scale warehousing projects and the increased diesel truck traffic they attract.

"We realize it’s not going to go away," says Newman. "But there has to be some way where we can make it a less of an impact on our families and our communities.”

Newman’s group last year sued to block a million square foot warehouse complex from being built at the edge of a Mira Loma neighborhood already flanked by a major freeway.

She says it’s one of many new mega-warehouse facilities planned across the Inland Valley.

“We know that we’re going to be targeted for that," acknowledges Newman. "There is no other place for them to be going. So we need to be prepared for that and to start looking at really what the impacts are, and how can we minimize those impacts."

She says warehousers need to "get a better handle on [if] this is this the economic engine we really need out here" or if they should explore other avenues.

Supporters of warehousing say it’s relatively clean industry that generates good paying jobs in a region that desperately needs them. Environmentalists, economists and warehouse neighbors will address that and other issues at the Clean Air Summit.

At the conference, a UCLA researcher plans to present results from a recent air quality survey of the Inland Empire.

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