News & Articles
Recent posts and updates
Workers’ Rights Caravan Rolls Out
Date: November 14, 2022
Author: Julio Morales - calexicochronicle.com
EL CENTRO – Farmworkers who gathered in downtown Calexico in the early morning of Monday, Nov. 14 were greeted with something of an unusual sight.
There to meet them was a broad coalition of stakeholders who this week launched a local initiative to educate and inform vulnerable workers of their rights.
It did not take too long for community advocate Ana Solorio to recognize the importance of the local outreach effort. One worker she encountered told her they had been told that the state’s pandemic-related supplemental paid sick leave program had expired on Sept. 31.
Date: January 17, 2023
Author: Richard Montenegro Brown
Comite Civico Del Valle Awarded $4 Million for Lithium-related Community Work
Waverley Street Foundation Funds Grassroots Initiatives Among Imperial County’s Underrepresented and Underserved Communities for Next Two Years
IMPERIAL COUNTY — Comite Civico del Valle, Inc., has been awarded a two-year $4 million grant from the Waverley Street Foundation to fund research and increase public education, capacity building, and civic engagement around the lithium-extraction industry among Imperial County’s underrepresented and underserved communities.
Waverley Street Foundation is a $3 billion-plus nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California, combating climate change through the funding of grassroots initiatives, organizing, and capacity building in disadvantaged communities.
Thankful for a Lithium Valley Holiday
Date: November 22, 2022
Author: Luis Olmedo
We at Comite Civico del Valle have a lot to be thankful for heading into the holidays. It’s been a phenomenal year for those of us who work closely in the world of environmental and social justice, and often when we wind down to gather with those close to us, we consider what’s important.
From our vantage point, we recently saw two of the biggest milestones of the year in local environmental justice come to pass — seeing the County of Imperial release its request for proposals for the Salton Sea Renewable Resource Health Impact Assessment tied to lithium extraction projects around the Salton Sea and the Blue Ribbon Commission moving forward its report for Lithium Extraction in California toward the Legislature before the end of the year.
Caravan Arrives in Imperial County to Inform Workers About Their Rights
Date: November 17, 2022
A caravan of state agencies from around the State of California and local organizations woke up very early in the morning to approach farmworkers and let them know about their worker rights and how they are protected under the law despite their immigration status.
A press conference was held on Nov. 14 in El Centro with community organizations and state agencies to announce the labor rights caravan and week of action in Imperial County. The caravan is part of the COVID-19 Workplace Outreach Project (CWOP), a statewide initiative to bring together community organizations and state agencies to promote workplace protections against COVID-19. COVID-19 and vaccination.
Local and state partners celebrate labor rights caravan kick-off in Imperial County
Date: November 15, 2022
Author: Elizabeth Mayoral Corpus - ivpressonline.com
EL CENTRO — Local and state partners announced on Nov. 14 a Labor Rights Caravan and Week of Action in Imperial County and surrounding areas.
A press conference was held by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and a variety of other organizations came together to inform local the farmworker community in Imperial County about the extension of supplemental paid sick Leave, new COVID-19 boosters, and health and safety in the workplace.
Annual Environmental Summit Draws Large Crowd
Date: November 02, 2022
Author: Mike Solorio
IMPERIAL – Health, jobs, and environmental government policies linked to the developing lithium extraction industry in Imperial County were chewed over during a panel discussion at the 11th annual Environmental Health Leadership Summit held last week at Imperial Valley College.
The panel discussion, titled “Lithium Valley: The State of Lithium Policy Initiatives,” highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of the lithium extraction industry.
Lithium Valley Commissioner Jonathan Weisgall, who is also BHE Renewables vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs, was one of the panel speakers.
Date: October 28, 2022
Author: Richard Montenegro Brown
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE SUMMITS DRAWS 300 ATTENDEES TO IVC
Panels and Workshops on Lithium Valley, Salton Sea, and More Bring Together Local and State Leaders, Environmental Justice Advocates Academics and Others for Important Conversations, All Organized by Comite Civico Del Valle, Inc.
IMPERIAL — From the welcoming speeches, and the lunch keynote address, to the content of several of the day’s panels and workshops, Lithium Valley and its potential effects on the region figured prominently in the 2022 Environmental Health Leadership Summit at Imperial Valley College on Thursday, Oct. 27.
As many as 300 people attended — and another 50-plus watched via livestream — the 11th annual event put on by Comite Civico del Valle, Inc., the Brawley-based environmental justice organization, which brought back its annual summit of local, state, and tribal leaders, academia, environmental justice advocates, organizers, labor unions, and more for the first time in nearly three years.
The summit, held in IVC’s health sciences building, was opened and closed with remarks from Comite Civico’s executive director, Luis Olmedo.
Let’s seize lithium opportunities and bring jobs and economic benefits to Imperial Valley
Date: August 04, 2022
Author: Luis OlmedoSpecial to The Desert Sun
California has an opportunity to turn an environmental disaster into a catalyst for environmental justice, green jobs and economic development. Imperial Valley has one of the world’s largest deposits of lithium — a key component in batteries for zero-emission cars, trucks and buses as well as cell phones and laptops. We can become a global lithium producer and exporter and support Imperial Valley residents by creating new green jobs as well as clean economic development for the region.
As Covid-19 Surges, California Farmworkers Are Paying a High Price
Date: July 29, 2022
Author: Evelyn Nieves - insideclimatenews.org
Every day, California farmworkers worry that the pandemic plowing through agricultural hubs will catch them and kill them. They also worry that not working will kill them.
The collapse of food service demands when most businesses and institutions shut down has cut farm jobs statewide by 20 percent, or 100,000. Many farmworkers who are still working have had their hours or days reduced, sometimes without warning. Lockdowns have also cost workers second jobs they needed to make ends meet. They are juggling bills and going hungry.
Tight-Knit Communities Help Combat Covid – Whether It’s Imperial County (CA), Or India
Date: July 22, 2022
Author: Avyay Sriperumbudur - https://indiacurrents.com/
Throughout the pandemic, Imperial County has led California in COVID vaccination rates – 91.7% of its residents have had two doses of the vaccine, giving Imperial the highest vaccination rate among Californian counties.
Experts at a July 15 EMS briefing attributed the high vaccination rates to the efforts of Imperial County’s community-based organizations (CBOs) and tight knit communities.
Calexico celebrates $28M in New River funding
Date: July 11, 2022
Author: Kassandra Mendoza - thedesertreview.com
CALEXICO — After a decade of immense effort, the New River Project received $28 million in funding to begin the first phase of restoration said to bring public health safety and environmental justice to Calexico, Mexicali, and Baja California, at a press conference at the Women's Improvement Club in Calexico July 7.
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Senator Ben Hueso, along with California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld and his team, were welcomed to The City of Calexico by the Mayor of Calexico, Javier Moreno.
California’s energy future hinges on lithium, from solar panels to batteries. Here’s what we know.
Date: March 14, 2022
Author: Manola Secaira/CapRadio - ijpr.org
In the form of a lithium-ion battery, this mineral powers everything from solar panels to electric cars. So far, lithium used in the United States is imported from other countries that commercially extract it. But with interest in the mineral growing rapidly, that will soon change.
Governor Newsom Joins President Biden to Uplift California’s Vision for an Inclusive, Sustainable, Clean Energy Economy in Lithium Valley
Date: February 22, 2022
SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom joined President Biden and community, labor, and industry leaders to discuss new investments and actions to support California’s clean energy sector – outlining historic progress to sustainably develop lithium resources, a critical component of the advanced batteries needed for zero-emission vehicles, clean electric grids, and other renewable energy technologies. California’s Imperial Valley contains some of the largest lithium deposits in the world, specifically underground near the Salton Sea – a region also known as Lithium Valley.
Special Report: U.S. air monitors routinely miss pollution - even refinery explosions
Date: December 01, 2020
Author: Tim McLaughlin, Laila Kearney, Laura Sanicola - reuters.com
When explosions ripped through a Philadelphia oil refinery last year, the shock waves knocked Felicia Menna’s front door frame out of place. Then came the black smoke.
“My throat was closing shut,” recalled Menna, who lives about a mile away. “My nostrils felt like they were on fire.”
Increased Risks and Fewer Jobs: Evidence of California Farmworker Vulnerability During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Date: July 23, 2020
Author: Ildi Carlisle-Cummins
Santa Cruz — Today, the COVID-19 Farmworker Study Team announces the completion of statewide survey of more than 900 farmworkers in California, which provides unique insights into the experience of these essential workers during the pandemic. Preliminary results from this unique study--the only statewide survey that gathered data directly from farmworkers currently working--will be released at a virtual press conference on July 28th, 2020 at 10 am PST. The results provide critical missing information on work site conditions and farmworkers' abilities to protect themselves while continuing to work in California’s fields.
Work moving in the right direction at SALTON SEA
Date: October 21, 2019
SALTON SEA (OCT 21, 2019) – State officials met recently at North Shores to give the community a report on the Salton Sea management plan. Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia called it a comprehensive update.
“They gave us dates of the beginning of construction. They gave us an accounting of funds that have been allocated to the project. They also touched on the other projects that are not part of the plan but that are being considered for purposes of community driven opportunities to mitigate the dust problems that are out here,” Garcia said.
About $300 million earmarked so far for Salton Sea work
Date: October 11, 2019
Author: Michael Maresh - https://www.ivpressonline.com/
SALTON SEA — As a followup to a June 26 meeting in Sacramento, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella; Rep. Paul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, and California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot met Oct. 3 in Palm Desert with local leaders and the public to discuss funding sources and improvements coming to the Salton Sea.
Garcia, who said work will begin on the southern part of the Salton Sea in December, said another $150 million needs to be appropriated to the sea to complete all of the projects in the 10-year plan.
Asthma medication law benefits local students
Date: September 27, 2019
Author: Julio Morales - https://www.ivpressonline.com/
CALEXICO – The recent passage of a state law allowing asthma medication, such as inhalers, obtained in Mexico to be used by students attending local schools was hailed Thursday by officials.
Already, it has benefited some students within the Calexico Unified School District, said Superintendent Carlos Gonzales.
An Agent of Positive Change
Date: September 26, 2019
Author: John Hernandez, President, Our Roots Multicultural Center
Many people see Comite Civico del Valle as an agent of positive change, impacting not just locally but nationwide. And their annual environmental summits are excellent opportunities for the community to be part of that change.
John Hernandez, President of Our Roots Multicultural Center Director, said “I’ve been involved and interested in the work of Comite Civico, especially involved around environmental justice and the protection of our environment, for about the last ten years.”
A Summit of Engagement
Date: September 19, 2019
Author: Dean Gregorio Ponce, San Diego State University, Imperial Valley Campus
Knowledge and passion combined are key elements in dealing effectively and decisively with issues that affect a community in order to bring about real change, according to San Diego State University – Imperial Valley Campus Dean Gregorio Ponce.
Dean Ponse said these elements were present in the Environmental Health Leadership Summits he has attended in Imperial County, where community and state officials have come together in a forum that is conducive to the sharing of concerns in our community.