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October 18, 2021

Barragán Requests Gov. Declare State of Emergency in Carson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2021

CARSON, Calif. – Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán asked Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a State of Emergency to guide Carson and Los Angeles County through the air quality crisis stemming from noxious odor emitting from the Dominguez Channel.

In a letter to the governor, Congresswoman Barragán wrote: “The odor coming from the Dominguez Channel is an issue of health and environmental injustice. My constituents are experiencing nausea, headaches, difficulty breathing, and other unbearable conditions. This odor and the associated health impacts interfere with students’ ability to learn and play safely, the operations of local businesses and the wellbeing of their employees, and the overall health and quality of life of my constituents who simply cannot avoid the smell.”

The letter follows a news conference on Friday in which Congresswoman Barragán, Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes called for federal, state and county governments to immediately marshal all resources necessary to address the pervasive odors and poor air quality in Carson coming from the Dominguez Channel.

Congresswoman Barragán’s full letter to Governor Newsom can be found here.

Full text is below.

October 18, 2021

Honorable Gavin Newsom

Governor of the State of California 

1303 10th Street, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom:

I am deeply concerned by the noxious odor emitting from a portion of the Dominguez Channel in Carson, California, which is located within my Congressional District. For more than a week, residents of Carson and the surrounding communities have been burdened by an intense, foul odor from noxious hydrogen sulfide, and the lack of a swift response by the responsible government agencies has been very disappointing. I respectfully request you to proclaim a State of Emergency to guide Carson and Los Angeles County through this crisis. 

The odor coming from the Dominguez Channel is an issue of health and environmental injustice. My constituents are experiencing nausea, headaches, difficulty breathing, and other unbearable conditions. This odor and the associated health impacts interfere with students’ ability to learn and play safely, the operations of local businesses and the wellbeing of their employees, and the overall health and quality of life of my constituents who simply cannot avoid the smell. It is extremely frustrating that the cause of the hydrogen sulfide gas has not been determined, aside from the fact it’s coming from the Dominguez Channel. 

Earlier this week, Los Angeles County announced a program for impacted residents to be reimbursed for purchases of air filters and temporary relocation to hotels within the County. Unfortunately, this plan provides insufficient relief and is inequitable to low-income residents. Many of my constituents cannot afford to purchase an air filter or pay hotel expenses for a long duration. These residents need direct aid, which is why I am asking you to declare a State of Emergency so that residents can receive direct relief and not be indebted by this event.

Further, there is a critical need for the responsible agencies and impacted jurisdictions to conduct testing, monitoring, mitigation, and to provide ongoing information and resources to protect the health of affected residents. The scale of the problem has become so great that state resources and technical expertise is needed to address it. 

I appreciate your consideration in addressing this urgent issue. I look forward to a partnership between local, state, and federal agencies to mitigate further health impacts associated with the odor emanating from the Dominguez Channel. 

Sincerely,

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Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security.