Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger directed state public health and environmental officials Friday to visit Kettleman City to conduct “a thorough investigation” into the causes of birth defects in the San Joaquin Valley farming community.
Schwarzenegger’s intercession comes more than a year after activists petitioned state agencies to investigate whether a large toxic dump near the community might be causing cleft palates and other defects among the mostly low-income Latino residents.
Earlier this week, Jared Blumenfeld, the regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, launched a federal inquiry, calling the situation “a human tragedy at a scale . . . none of us would want to have to endure.”
Related thread: EPA to investigate cluster of birth defects in Kettleman City, Calif
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