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Did you hear the latest about Natural Gas Development?  A recent Cornell Study found that it actually might be ‘dirtier’ than coal!  It’s true; this new, abundant, domestic form of energy is not exactly what it’s touted to be, but I think we knew that.

Not only do the chemicals that leak out of fracking wells contaminate our air and water causing a magnitude of health effects; but they can also contribute to climate change. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can leak out of fracking wells, has pound for pound 105 times more of a warming impact than carbon dioxide, according to the Cornell Study.

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When we send our kids to school, we realize that they may face some uncomfortable or even dangerous situations. What if the older kids pick on them? Is this school known for violence or gangs?  Is there a drug problem at the school? How do I know my child is safe?
However, the more we know about the risks at schools the safer our kids can be.  We can educate ourselves and talk with our kids about what to do in a dangerous situation. We can make changes in our community by getting involved.

US EPA selected Paulsboro High School for monitoring potential impacts of toxic air pollutants.

But, what about the dangers that can go unnoticed, the risks that you can’t see?

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For all of those who missed it, Global Community Monitor co-hosted a special event with Pacific Environment and The Sierra Club to honor the 2011 Goldman Prize Winners.  The event was a huge success and a lot of fun making it a great opportunity to chat with activists from around the world.

Hilton Kelley inspired all of us with his story of the fight against big oil companies in Port Arthur, TX while Dmitry Lisitsyn from Sakhalin Island, Russia, made saving critically endangered ecosystems from large-scale petroleum development sound easy with his grace and down to earth attitude.

If you weren’t there, well we missed you, but check out the pictures!  Hopefully it will keep you inspired until next year.

I want to share some great news with you.

Hilton Kelley, GCM Board Member, long time community partner and friend, has just won the Goldman Prize, the world’s largest and most prestigious prize for grassroots environmentalists.  We here at Global Community Monitor are proud of Hilton and congratulate him on this great achievement of being recognized for all the incredible work that he has done to protect Port Arthur, Texas from oil refinery pollution and raise national awareness about the struggle of fenceline communities.
But Hilton is not resting on his laurels – he’s come out swinging at Texas refineries like Chevron and Shell for opposing a toxic spill warning system:
We hope that everyone living on the fenceline of a polluting facility and anyone who cares about clean air and healthy communities is inspired by this award.

Port Arthur, Texas Poised to Showcase Environmental Justice History

It sounds like a script from a Hollywood feel good movie:  a poor young man from a housing project surrounded by giant oil refineries joins the Navy to get away, becomes a member of the Screen Actor Guild and appears in TV shows, moves back to his poor run down community determined to clean it up and restore it and becomes a national leader in the fight for communities everywhere to win Environmental Justice.  Luckily for the West side of Port Arthur, Texas, it’s not just a good story –  it’s real life.
In the 10 plus years since Hilton Kelley heard the calling to return to his low income and polluted hometown, a lot has been accomplished with his hard work and persistence.  He founded the Community In-Power & Development Association, a group that works to empower residents to speak out about the problems and be part of the solution of restoring Port Arthur. He has helped reduce pollution and become an advocate to change policies nationally.
Along the way, Kelley met some key people to help him clean up pollution. One of these folks was Denny Larson of the Global Community Monitor (GCM) who introduced him to the air sampling “Bucket.” With this innovative tool, Kelley produced independent air sample results proving how toxic and sickening the air was in town.  Armed with this scientific evidence, he began educating and organizing residents about the connections between the epidemic of cancers and serious health problems and bad air.  As a result of Kelley’s effective work, vision and leadership, he was named to the Board of Directors of GCM.
Just because someone repeats something endlessly doesn’t mean it’s true. And in some cases, it’s just the opposite like with fracking.

For example, we’ve heard the sloganeering: “Clean & Safe, Natural Gas is energy’s future”. But with more and more information coming to light, it seems as if natural gas extraction and production through hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) might not be so clean and safe.

Photo Credit: NGerda, Clean Air buttons

This false clean and safe aura has allowed most of the natural gas extraction and production to be exempt from widely accepted environmental regulations, including the Clean Air Act.  Since fracking creates pollution, this exemption poses serious health risks to those living near fracking operations.

We’ve done the pollution tests, heard the horror stories from neighbors and seen the health effects, and now it finally looks like our legislators are taking action to protect families from an industry that is not so clean and safe.

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