Environmentalists in the Lake Charles area will try a new tool
this morning in their battle with local industries - using a simple
air sample testing kit devised by California activists.
Members of the Calcasieu League for a Clean Environment Now will
use "bucket" sampling devices to take air samples to discover what
compounds are escaping chemical and oil refining plants.
"Bucket Brigades" of citizen-testers were first created by a
coalition of industrial neighbors, county health departments, and the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9.
Technical experts from Citizens for a Better Environment of San
Francisco will train Lake Charles residents to take air samples in
five spots where air pollution complaints are frequent, according to
a news release from the Calcasieu group.
Results from the samples will be released to the public within
about two weeks after a certified lab has analyzed and verified the
data, according to Kathy Landry of the Calcasieu group.
"Finally the people of this area will start to see what we are
breathing for themselves, because we know we haven't been getting
straight answers from industry" or the state Department of
Environmental Quality, Landry said.
"This is the first step in setting up a network of community air
monitors around the polluters here," Landry said.
One of the neighborhoods where air tests will be conducted is
Mossville, where community members have complained about frequent
toxic air pollution releases and serious health problems.
The Bucket Brigade effort began in northern California in 1995,
when residents near oil refineries and chemical plants grew tired of
toxic releases and the lack of independent information on air
pollution, said Denny Larson of the National Oil Refinery Action
Network and Citizens for a Better Environment.
The original Bucket Brigade was organized in one refinery
neighborhood and eventually Citizens for a Better Environment
organized a regional effort to provide buckets to five industrial
communities in the San Francisco Bay area.
The group convinced the EPA to endorse the idea and provide
$ 90,000 to ensure the scientific credibility and pay for tests,
The EPA has verified the scientific integrity and reliability of
the bucket technology and community protocol for collecting air
samples, Larson said.
LOAD-DATE: September 29, 1998