Parked outside Green Sage in Oakland, Calif., are nine diesel generators supplying energy to the cultivation facility. According to a lawsuit filed by neighbors, the generators are spiking the area with air pollution. With a local population comprising mostly Black and Latino residents, the suit frames this conflict as environmental racism, demanding the diesel generators be shut down.

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The property in question is located southeast of downtown Oakland.

The East Oakland neighbors, backed by the Environmental Policy Project, claim that this diesel engine exhaust problem has been transpiring for the past two years—24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“[Green Sage’s] unpermitted, semi-truck size generators have emitted tons of cancer-causing diesel particulate matter and other pollutants that are inhaled deeply into the lungs of residents of the facility’s live/workspace,” according to the lawsuit. “Residents of the densely populated community of color located just east of the facility’s generators are also exposed to the facility’s pollution. The generators’ emissions are not mitigated by any pollution limits or control technology because Defendant failed to obtain air quality permits before operating the generators.”

Read the full civil complaint below.

Alistair Monroe, board member of the Environmental Policy Project and a neighbor of Green Sage’s cultivation facility, wrote in a July 11 court filing that black soot is now visible along the external walls of the building.

“The fumes from the generators permeate my and other residents’ homes,” Monroe wrote. “The fumes are so powerful that they cause me and the other residents to become nauseous and otherwise physically ill. I am also concerned about other short-term and long-term health risks I am suffering as a result of breathing in these toxic fumes.”

The Environmental Policy Project filed a Proposition 65 violation, as well, a state-level certificate that defines the generators’ diesel engine exhaust as a potentially cancer-causing chemical under California law.  

“Just to the east of the generators, where the wind carries the pollution, is a very dense residential neighborhood, a community of color,” attorney Lucas Williams told KQED. “There’s schools, playgrounds, and people live there. So not surprisingly the elevated cancer risk is very significant.”

The lawsuit and Prop. 65 violation certificate both use July 30, 2020, as the start date of the diesel-powered generators. With a potential penalty of $2,500 per day of Clean Air Act violation, Green Sage could be on the hook for more than $1.8 million.  

Environmental Democracy Project v. Green Sage Management LLC by sandydocs on Scribd



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