A new generation of activists, born next to an oil refinery

Ask any native of Wilmington, California, for directions, and you’ll get a quick glimpse of what daily reality is like here. “I live on the side of town where Phillips 66 is, or where the Tesoro refinery is. Or where the container yards are; the side of town with the ports,” says resident Sylvia Arredondo, rattling off the various ways a local might tell you how to get to his or her house.

This 10-square-mile South Los Angeles community, population 50,000, has the dubious distinction of having some of the worst air quality in a city that already has the country’s worst ozone levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to its proximity to three oil refineries and hundreds of active oil wells, it’s penned in by three freeways and the Port of Los Angeles — the nation’s largest. Thousands of diesel rigs rumble through the residential neighborhoods. Read entire story here