The Advocate: New Effort Seeks to Obtain Buckets of Air Quality Data

| News

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, 
Larson said.

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

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