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“Think globally, act locally.” It’s an old environmental slogan that many of us have probably heard before. Not all of us, though. It seems that California’s San Joaquin Valley air district favors an edited version: “Think globally so that you don’t have to act locally.”

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Every year the American Lung Association releases a comprehensive study called the State of the Air about air pollution levels across the nation. The report covers key findings, health risks, vulnerable parties, what you can dod to help, and the most interesting part, city ranking. The ALA ranks cities and counties across the nation on the quality of their air.

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Many Southern California communities stand out as some of the nation’s worst environmental justice hot spots, according to a new map released Wednesday by the Obama administration.

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SHAFTER, Calif. — On a map he keeps in his office, Tom Frantz, an environmental activist and retired math teacher, notes a spot near his home that he says is within a five-mile radius of 10 big dairy farms and about 60,000 cows. This town, in the very fertile but poor and badly polluted San Joaquin Valley in California, is near the heart of dairy country in a state that produces 20 percent of America's milk.

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When Bishop Stephen Blaire came to Stockton in 1999, the region’s highest-ranking Catholic soon realized that dangerous levels of air pollution were contributing to high asthma rates here. The Stockton diocese later launched a program seeking relief specifically for those who suffer the most from environmental problems. Nine years later that program is believed to still be the only one of its kind.

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