EPA ramps up local emissions monitoring, unannounced inspections

Shell's Norco Manufacturing Complex

This week the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will invest more than $600,000 to procure mobile air pollution monitoring equipment for Louisiana’s parishes along the Mississippi River corridor.

A press release stated that the EPA would be deploying the monitors “specifically in Mossville, St. John the Baptist Parish and St. James Parish, among other communities located in the south.”

The agency said the equipment will measure volatile organic compounds, including air toxics, and “will dramatically improve EPA’s ability to measure pollution quickly and assess situations in real-time.” The monitoring plan was announced in conjunction with an agency-wide action of unannounced inspections.

The news of increased monitoring comes on the heels of EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s Journey to Justice campaign, which included stops in St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes in November 2021.

“To ensure facility compliance with environmental laws, the Administrator directed the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance to aggressively use its authority to conduct unannounced inspections at suspected non-compliant facilities, as needed, to protect public health,” an EPA press release stated. “As previously announced, the Agency is also directing resources to better protect people and public health in overburdened areas across the nation, making $20 million in grants available from the American Rescue Plan to enhance local air monitoring for pollutants of greatest concern in communities facing health disparities.”

The EPA said all actions, “which range from policy changes to community-driven efforts, reflect Administrator Regan’s commitment to deliver environmental justice and work towards building a better America, and are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing these issues in communities that are marginalized, undeserved, and overburdened by pollution.”

The EPA also plans to take actions in Texas and Mississippi.

“In every community I visited … the message was clear – residents have suffered far too long and local, state, and federal agencies have to do better,” Regan said. “The pollution concerns have been impacting these communities for decades. Our actions will begin to help not only the communities I visited on this tour, but also others across the country who have suffered from environmental injustices.”

 

About Monique Roth 751 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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