Imperial County air quality has EPA teaming with local agencies

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The main speaker of the meeting giving an overview of main goals listed by the group.
The main speaker of the meeting, Luis Olmedo, Exec. Director of Comite Civico del Valle, giving an overview of main goals listed by the group.

BRAWLEY – The Comite Civico Del Valle group teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency and other local leaders of the community to host a meeting on Wednesday about the air quality and control of the Imperial Valley and other local areas.

“The overall goal of today’s meeting was to hear from the community what the issues are on air pollution in the Imperial County and more importantly to hear what we can do to help,” explained Amy K. Zimpfer, the Associate Director of the EPA. “It’s such a thrill to be here and see how integrated the student body and schools are to understanding the problem and then helping to solve them.”

Also present were a group of students representing Brawley Union High School. They asked various questions regarding the local policies and schematics on air pollution. Representatives of the community also asked important questions such as how the asthma affecting students in schools on a daily basis can be looked at differently.

Janet G. McCabe, the Acting Assistant Administrator of the EPA, also made an appearance at the meeting. “For me, this meeting was to get to know the people in the community,” said McCabe, “and get to know first-hand all the good work that they’re doing so that I can take these stories back to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) at a national level and make sure that my colleagues are aware of the challenges here and the work that’s going on.”

Comparisons were made between the air quality between Mexicali and areas up north such as Brawley. It was made clear that although you can’t necessarily see it, the air quality is definitely an issue present in our community. A suggestion made by McCabe explained that air quality and control isn’t necessarily rocket science technology, it can be as simple as adjusting the kind of fuel combustion that semi-trucks use transporting goods from LA to Mexico.

“Today, there was a lot of educating of me,” said McCabe, “and I hope an opportunity that people feel like they’ve connected with EPA in a way that will help us all going into the future. Follow through is always important, but every encounter we have is more of a relationship that’s built. When people sit down with each other, they make more progress.”

“It was a fabulous exchange of information,” explained Zimpfer. “It was a great opportunity to hear the wonderful things that are going on in Imperial County, such as the flag system that has been incorporated in Brawley, as well as hearing from the civic and educational leaders, such as the principal and superintendents of BUHS, and how they’re embracing the importance of environmental protection to all the school curriculum.”

Janet G. McCabe, the Acting Assistant Administrator of the EPA, explaining the importance of the flag system based on her prior experiences.
Janet G. McCabe, the Acting Assistant Administrator of the EPA, explaining the importance of the flag system based on her prior experiences.