In 2011, the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights issued its first and only preliminary finding of discrimination in a case filed by parents of Latino students in California.
The complaint alleged that agricultural pesticides were being used more heavily around schools with high minority student populations, subjecting the students to greater health risks.
David Garcia of Oxnard was 14 when his mother, Maria, joined the civil-rights complaint against the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in 1999. By the time the EPA issued its preliminary finding in the case and reached a settlement with the state in 2011, David was building a family of his own.
EPA civil-rights investigators took a decade to hammer out a settlement with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. In exchange for admitting no wrongdoing, the department agreed to put an additional air monitor near a school. The complainants were not notified of the deal until it was publicized by the EPA.
Seen as a victory by the EPA, the settlement is being challenged in court by one of the original complainants, Maria Garcia, who believes the agency bungled its investigation.