The good news

Perhaps it was buried too deep in Sunday’s story about environmentally vulnerable Stockton ZIP codes, but the state’s new EnviroScreen tool could mean some much-needed state assistance.

New state law requires that 25 percent of the proceeds from the state’s carbon cap and trade program be used to benefit disadvantaged communities, with 10 percent of the money to be spent directly on projects within those communities.

And yes, Stockton appears to be heavily disadvantaged, with three local ZIP codes among the top 10 most vulnerable in California. (Search for yourself using these interactive maps).

Also perhaps lost in the bowels of that story was this interesting tidbit: Stockton’s vulnerability may be more an issue of its demographics than the actual amount of pollution.

The state issued scores based upon two categories: “pollution burden” (taking into account air pollution, number of industrial facilities, groundwater contamination, cleanup sites, etc.) and “population characteristics” (income, education, race, number of elderly or very young residents, etc.).

For all three of Stockton’s “most vulnerable” ZIP codes, the population characteristics score is higher (riskier) than the pollution burden score.

Not that pollution itself isn’t an issue. But the reason so many of our neighborhoods are judged among the riskiest in California is, in large part, a simple factor of who we are — not just how many smokestacks we can count from our front porch.

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  • Blog Author

    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann (a Record copyeditor who fixes all of his mistakes). He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in Stockton. He is on the lookout for a giant ... Read Full
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