Key findings from Oxnard, California

Key findings:

  • 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.