Aaron and his team played a critical role in helping the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (Deep South) to win a $500,000 grant from the EPA to implement a community-based air quality monitoring project. The 2-year grant will aid residents of St. John the Baptist Parish [pop. ~21,000], located about 20 miles from the heart of New Orleans and situated along the Mississippi River. The neighborhoods in this Parish share several commonalities. They (1) are subjected to high levels of airborne pollutants (such as PM2.5, chloroprene and other volatile organic compounds [VOCs], dioxides, and mercury, among others) originating from the nearby Dupont Denka petrochemical factory and the Formosa plastics factory (among many others; these are the closest) every single day of the year, (2) have active, resident-driven environmental advocacy groups with whom Deep South has collaborated on prior EJ projects – these groups were formed in direct response to derisive actions taken by local and state elected officials and local polluters, (3) are majority African American, and (4) have requested (see attached letters) technical assistance from Deep South to address the endemic pollution which plague their communities.
We were thrilled to contribute to this effort and to have the opportunity to work with such capable and effective organizations.