|January 31st, 2005|
First of its Kind Real Time Air Toxics Program Advocated
EPA and Department of Justice Urged to Include Program in Government Settlements
St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality * Refinery Reform Campaign
LOUISIANA BUCKET BRIGADE
WHAT: The St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality will present on Monday their design for an air toxics monitoring program in the neighborhoods near the ExxonMobil Refinery. The presentation will lay out, for the first time ever, the total cost and complete design of the program, including the optimum placement of the high technology air monitors.
Officials at the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Quality are being alerted to the necessity of such a program in any settlements with the refinery. The monitors are seen by the community as a crucial aspect of verification. The pending settlements have recently been reported in the Times Picayune.
This plan is the first presentation of the details of the program designed by monitoring experts and the community members most affected by the pollution. To date, Exxon Mobil has ignored repeated requests to monitor toxics in the neighborhoods across the street from the refinery. Community air samples taken with the buckets have repeatedly found chemicals known to harm human health, including benzene (known carcinogen), hydrogen sulfide (respiratory irritant) and toluene and xylene (developmental toxins). ExxonMobil reports emitting these chemicals.
WHY: ExxonMobil is the largest source of carcinogens in St. Bernard Parish and emits thousands of pounds of respiratory irritants a year. Parish residents are concerned about the health implications of these releases. Among the concerns are the 15 elementary, middle and high schools located near the refinery. ExxonMobil and Murhpy Refineries operate an air monitor far from the source of the toxics, almost two miles away from the refineries.
Where: Near Rowley Elementary School; enter at 12 Carroll Drive, off of St. Bernard Highway
When: 11 AM CST, Monday, January 31, 2005
Good visuals and photo opportunities.