Air monitoring trainers come to town

Updates: Coverage of Friday roundtable by Athens Messenger, Sat. 5-11, and Athens News, Mon. 5-13

Athens, Ohio: California-based international air contamination experts Global Community Monitor (GCM) will be visiting Athens for two days, May 10 and 11. On Friday, they will tour local injection well sites and participate in two free public events at Arts West, 132 W. State St., Athens: first, a roundtable press conference with community leaders from 12:30-2 p.m. and in the evening, a community meeting and presentation from 6 to 8 p.m. On Saturday, GCM will train twenty Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia residents how to measure levels of air contamination in their communities.

In response to the presence of documented toxics in local injection well open pits and to the headaches and throat irritation experienced by residents who have ventured near the well sites, Athens Fracking Action Network has invited GCM to offer their “Bucket Brigade” program to our region. The Bucket Brigade originated in 1995 with Edward Masry, the attorney who worked with environmental activist Erin Brockovich.  Upset about a release of toxic fumes from a local oil refinery, Masry tried to find a way for ordinary people to document air pollution.  The result is a user-friendly device, housed inside a 5-gallon bucket that can “grab” and store air samples for analysis.  Communities that have established a Bucket Brigade are able to challenge polluters and increase enforcement of environmental laws.

GCM made the news last week when it reported the high levels of benzene and other hazardous pollutants found by Bucket Brigade monitors in Mayflower, Arkansas, following the Exxon pipeline rupture and tar sands oil spill. Serendipitously, GCM had trained Arkansas citizens just last December. See more at gcmonitor.org. This is GCM’s first visit to Ohio with a focus on extreme oil and gas operations.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Friday press conference and evening event to learn about local, state, and national work on extreme energy and how communities are taking action. Local air and water quality issues will be discussed and updates presented on what’s happening with fracking and injection wells in Ohio.

For more information, visit gcmonitor.org or contact Athens County Fracking Action Network at acfanohio@gmail.com.

WHEN: Friday, May 10: Press conference roundtable: 12:30 – 2 p.m.; Community presentation: 6 -8 p.m.

WHERE: Arts West, 132 W. State, Athens

WHO: Global Community Monitor, hosted by Athens County Fracking Action Network

WHAT: Learn from international air pollution monitoring experts Global Community Monitor about local, state, and national work on extreme energy and how communities are taking action. Local air and water quality issues will be discussed and updates presented on what’s happening with fracking and injection wells in Ohio. GCM made news last week with documentation by Bucket Brigades of extremely high benzene from Exxon’s tar sands flood in Mayflower, Arkansas.