By Risha Bera, Monitoring and Evaluation Associate and Selena Poznak, Volunteer Coordinator
Since Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge’s 31,000 pound benzene release last June, the Bucket Brigade has been focusing on keeping Exxon accountable. On July 12th, Program Manager Anna Hrybyk, Standard Heights Community Association President Shirley Bowman, and Secretary Tonga Nolan flew to D.C. to request greater accountability of the refinery at the EPA headquarters. Just four days after their visit, the EPA conducted an unannounced inspection at the Baton Rouge refinery.
LABB recently secured the EPA’s inspection report-problem is, much of the public version of the report was redacted. Before the holidays, LABB held a press conference on Ms. Tonga’s porch in the Standard Heights community to demand that the EPA release the entire report so that the public can know the full extent of the damage caused by Exxon Mobil.
At the press conference, Standard Heights community members discussed their frustrations with Exxon’s lack of concern for safety and the quality of life of their neighbors.
The Times Picayune published an article following the press conference that includes a poll asking whether or not the EPA should be compelled to release a more detailed version of the report about Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge. Out of 90 total votes, 67 people, or 74.44% of voters stated that yes, the community deserves to know the extent of the accident and its potential effects. You can view the full article here.
We hope that Standard Heights community persistence and expression of safety concerns will persuade the EPA to make the full report available to the public.