On Saturday, September 9th, members of Norco’s Diamond community will build more of the buckets that have enabled the residents to sample their air. The Bucket Brigade, as it is called, has been sampling the air in Norco since December of 1998. Since that time, Dorothy Jenkins of New Sarpy and Percy Hollins of Diamond have taken air samples and exposed the hazardous emissions released by Shell Chemical and the Motiva Refinery. “I took a sample that showed the refinery released six times the amount of benzene allowed by law,” said Ms. Jenkins, referring to a sample she took in August of 1999. Since that time, Percy Hollins has been alarmed by the mix of chemicals that his bucket tests have consistently recorded. “The bucket has found that we are breathing 20 different chemicals even on a days when we can’t smell anything,” he said. “That’s frightening.”
Tomorrow’s bucket building session is a move to expand the neighborhood-monitoring program. “There are lots of people in Diamond who want to know what they are breathing,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We are going to build two buckets tomorrow and decide exactly where those buckets should be.” The Bucket Brigade was developed by Oakland based Communities for a Better Environment, which developed the bucket and spent thousands of dollars assuring the quality of its results. The bucket results are approved by the EPA.
The Diamond community continues to negotiate with Shell for a fair and just relocation. Diamond residents say that air sampling will continue as long as their relocation demands go unmet. Percy Hollins described the mindset of the residents. “We have been evacuated so many darn times. If it wasn’t Shell Chemical it was Shell oil. So the people got scared. If your child cries because they’re scared, you’re going to do something.”
WHEN: Saturday, September 9, 2000
WHAT TIME: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
WHERE: Destrehan Public Library (East Regional Library)
100 River Oaks at the corner of River Road