With the looming decision ahead for the World Logistics Center in Moreno Valley, the City government is going to need to weigh the issue of the unmitigated effects of over 41 million square feet of development consisting of an unknown number of warehouses of various sizes and tenants, over the health and lives of the citizens it has been entrusted to serve.
There is no real debate that this proposed project by Highland Fairview will bring negative results upon the City of Moreno Valley and surrounding areas, it says so right in their own Draft Environment Impact Report (DEIR), of those negative impacts one is to the health of its citizens as a result of diesel exhaust fumes caused by the increased amount of heavy trucking such a project will bring to the city.
These impacts are considered “significant and unavoidable,” in short they are real, a threat, and can only be avoided if the project wasn’t approved, furthermore, these impacts will be a movable source of pollution by means of truck traffic to and from the project site throughout the inland region (mostly Western Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles Counties).
Diesel exhaust is now listed as a known carcinogen which can cause cancer, lung disease, as well as negative effects on the prostate. This same exhaust can mutate with other elements to create salmonella as well. Diesel exhaust is now only second to second hand smoke as a known cause of respiratory ailments, including cancer, in fact most of the same chemicals found in the toxic fumes of second hand smoke from a cigarette are found in diesel exhaust, however diesel exhaust has an even greater number of known pollutants and higher concentrations than that of second hand cigarette smoke.
Most if not all states have recognized second hand smoke as a known toxic substance as well as a carcinogen, and therefore have taken steps to elevate the problem through smoking bans in indoor locations, and in some cases outdoor locations such as city parks.
Second hand cigarette smoke in an indoor location has been shown in most studies to be no more toxic than second hand smoke outdoors, however that is only while the act of smoking itself is taking place, but once a cigarette is extinguished, the toxic level outdoors goes away rapidly, when compared to that of indoor smoking where the toxic effects last longer due to the closed environment which makes those within the area more susceptible to the effects of the second hand smoke.
This is why states and cities (like Moreno Valley) have enacted various forms of bans on indoor smoking, because the environmental effects are “significant, yet avoidable.”
Even the City of Moreno Valley bans such smoking within its City owned and or operated parks under their municipal code chapter 11.40.040 subsection BB.
There is no doubt based on the DEIR, that this project will negatively affect the health of the citizens of Moreno Valley and surrounding areas, in fact some citizens will develop new illnesses which they previously didn’t suffer from, some will have existing condition increase in their level of severity and yes, some individuals will die as a result of the additional air born pollution caused by the diesel exhaust this project would create. The results of this projects impact in this area are significant and unavoidable per the Draft Environment Impact Report itself.
However the City of Moreno Valley in making its decision on whether to approve or disapprove the World Logistics Center is going to have to weigh those negatives based on what they (the City of Moreno Valley) feel are “overriding considerations.”
These overriding considerations will be in the form of economic benefits to the City, as well as the possible jobs creation the project may bring. So in effect they are playing God, they get to decide the price of a human life based on a dollar amount of local economic benefit, as well as local jobs creation.
The City will once again hear Iddo Benzeevi of Highland Fairview state that in order for these diesel exhaust fumes to affect anyone, they would have had to been born beside a running semi-truck and remain there for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for 80 years (source: City of Moreno Valley public hearing regarding the Highland Fairview Corporate Park Project, aka. Skechers building 2009). Well I would like him to run that one by those who live and work in the areas of Mira Loma and the Los Angeles Harbor.
But the City of Moreno Valley will most likely buy into it, as they have already set the price of a human life at a very low cost, even though most people would say that you can’t put a price on a human life or their health, as life itself is a sacred thing.
When looking at the overall negative health effects that the World Logistics Center will bring to the local community and surrounding areas as well, it is simply incorrect to say the negative impacts are unavoidable, as with the issue of second hand smoke, it is avoidable, and the City of Moreno Valley acknowledged that in their own municipal codes when they banned smoking in and on City owned property and most private areas as well.