The Louisiana Democracy Project began thePray for Our Air ProgramDecember 17, 2001after two
LDP members attended a public hearing sponsored by DEQ.ExxonMobilrequested an air permit which would allow it to emit an additional 649 tons of pollution
into the air in the production of its new Tier2 low sulfur gas.
Notification of the public hearing
had been sent out during the Christmas holidays, the hearing had a close on written comment deadline.There
were only 5 citizens present at the January 17th proceedings the rest of the room was full of industry people.Those citizens present requested an extension for public comment.The following day which was a Friday we were told we could have until the following Fridaywhich was January 25th for written public comment.The
5 citizens present were active members of Louisiana Democracy Project, Inc., North Baton Rouge Environmental Association,
AWARE, LEAN and Young Important People (mentored by LDP).
Tulane Environmental Law Clinic explained that they could find no legal grounds to oppose the permit but they did provided
us with a list of the chemicals to be emitted, 30.83 tons of Particulate Matter, 85.55 tons of Sulfur Dioxide, 279.36 tons
of Carbon Monoxide, 85 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds- a precursor to ozone, 169.17 tones of Nitrogen Oxide.LEAN (La. Environmental Action Network ), said they could find no technical grounds to oppose the permit
however theyshared information on East Baton Rouge Parish, second in the state
for toxic air emissions part of a five parish area which isa serious ozone non-attainment
Assessing the magnitude of the problem and the limited time,Louisiana Democracy Project, Inc. sent out a fax to everyone in its data base calling for prayer over the situation.Next we produced a form requesting
public comments and we went to the streets.With help from the other organizations
we collected 590 comments.WBRZ Channel 9 news interviewed president Stephanie
Anthony and ran the fax number for the La. Department of Environmental Quality the day before deadline.Former Congressmen and current State Senator Cleo Fields saw the broadcast put in an angry call to LaDEQ
demanding more time since his constituents did not have fax machines and deserved to be heard.
interesting, previously unknown facts came out in that town hall meeting including the fact that the air monitor on Southern
Universitys campus which is located within 2 miles of ExxonMobil went off 50 times last year.Which means the air in that area exceeded the threshold set by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for
pollution at least 50 times.
Louisiana Democracy Project is agrassroots based organization founded in 1998
to ensure the recognition of the fundamental rights of political, economic, and environmental self-determination for disenfranchised
other refineries in Louisiana are expected to apply for the same permit as ExxonMobil,
La. Democracy Project has called for a moratorium on air permits.We believe that no air permits should be given out until Baton Rouge
is in compliance with the federal Clean Air Act.
La. Democracy Project asks every one to put our air in your daily prayer.If
you belong to a congregation which has weekly prayer service please include our air in your public prayer.If you would like to speak to your group please contact president,Stephanie Anthony (225) 357-7425