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The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is an environmental health and justice organization supporting communities' use of grassroots action to become informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution.
The EPA-approved "bucket" is a simple, community friendly tool that fenceline neighbors use to take air samples. Our purpose is to assist fenceline neighbors in their campaigns to make industry accountable for its pollution. We complement the community group by adding a level of technical expertise to their work. We provide this tool and training to community members to monitor and expose industrial pollution as it happens. The more evidence the communities gather, the more power they have to attain their goals.
Taking air samples is a powerful experience for community members who are used to being ignored, overlooked, and disrespected by corporations and government. Dorothy Jenkins, President of Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy, used to call the refinery to complain about the odors. A low ranking operator would tell her not to worry, that the black plume of smoke that billowed for hours near her home was not harmful. Now Mrs. Jenkins has a bucket. When refinery managers and government regulators tell her that there is nothing to worry about, she answers, "Why, then, was there a benzene reading of 14 in my air sample, a reading that violates the state standards?" The bucket gives community members power to hold institutions accountable to provide a safe and healthy environment.
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