Advocates Call on EPA to Expand Air Pollution Monitoring of Refineries After 10 Found Emitting High Benzene Levels | DeSmog
Available for the first time, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air monitoring data from over 100 U.S. oil refineries shows that 10 facilities have exceeded federal limits for cancer-causing benzene along their borders. The data, which raise health concerns about the communities adjoining these refineries, were released in a February 6 report by the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group of former EPA enforcement attorneys, public interest lawyers, and community organizers.
Lt. General Russel Honoré, founder of Louisiana’s Green Army, a grassroots anti-pollution coalition, hailed the report as a great tool for communities that live near refineries to press for the monitoring of additional toxic chemicals.
While pleased that the government is now monitoring for benzene, he and other environmental advocates say these results show the need for more robust monitoring at industrial plants in order to protect nearby populations. Studies have shown these communities are often people of color and low-income and suffer disproportionally from air pollution relative to the overall population.