The president of the union chapter representing El Centro Sector U.S. Border Patrol agents says his organization is concerned with the local health impacts of agricultural burning on the local population.

“Outdated and unnecessary farming methods may be harming your children,” Michael R. Matzke, president NBPC Local 2554, wrote in a letter sent to this newspaper.

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(2) comments

Victor Zazueta

The air pollution we all see after a large field is burned is permitted by a complacent county organization charged with regulating air pollution. The problem is that this organization is led by a lapdog to the corporate farming interests who are willing pay to burn rather than use alternative methods to clear land. It is the fault of the five elected members of the Board of Supervisors who gladly appointed a former IID Board member to oversee the pollution of our environment. And according the website Transparent California the Air Pollution Control Officer in 2018 received an annual total pay with benefits of $183,789. Rather than use more environmentally friendly means to clear land of previous crops our farmers are permitted to burn and pollute and pay for the privilege of contributing to an unhealthy air quality that has led to the highest rates of asthma in children anywhere in California. The responsibility for the impact on the health of generations of young people rests on those elected to protect our environment. However, our Board of Supervisors are more beholden to economic interests of some in the farming community that put profits over people. Change will only come when we elect people interested in protecting our environment and fostering a health population. Change will not come with better messaging and a public relations campaign.

American Lung Association (

California Air Resources Board (

CalMatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

IV Press explains how the Air Pollution Control Board has adopted a new Public Relation model.

Our five elected members of the Board of Supervisors appoint one of their friends to protect our environment.

Dessert worked 9 years as an Administrative Analyst at the Air Pollution Control Board and served 6 years on the IID board.


Chris C.

As a former resident of Imperial Valley who still has family living there I applaud the IV Press for finally addressing the farmers burning fields issue. The valley already has poor air quality due to its proximity to Mexicali. Nothing can be done to fix that. Farmers burning fields only make it worse and there are alternative methods. We cannot stop what is governed by another country but we can fix what happens here. I believe there has always been a conflict of interest with the Air Pollution control being under the Imperial County Agriculture dept. Call or email your County Board of Supervisors and ask for action. If they continue to turn a blind eye to this serious health and enviormental issue then vote for new people to address these serious concerns. There are several multiple term members that have done nothing for years despite requests from several agencies for help. Maybe its time to make some changes on the Board of Supervisors. Vote them out and make that change. What has Mike Kelley and Raymond Castillo done for you lately? NOTHING!

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