A bill that would have required polluters to send air quality alerts to those living near industrial plants was shelved Wednesday amid opposition from business groups.
Before debate in a Louisiana House environmental committee was cut off by the bill’s sponsor, several people who live near a plant described their complaints.
“Raw sewer,” is how Martha Huckabay described the smell near her home in St. Rose, a smell she blamed on the nearby Shell plant.
She said in 2012 her family grew sick after the plant emitted a particularly fowl blast of air and her 4-year-old son Dawson had to be hospitalized.
Rep. Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches, envisioned a monitoring system that would have sent smartphone alerts to those who live nearby. Cox said his House Bill 590 would have been a safety net for people who “live along the fence line.”
Each plant would have paid for their monitoring systems, he said.
“This is not about stopping any business from doing business,” said Cox, who pulled the bill. He later said he lacked votes to get the bill approved.
After the hearing, Jim Harris, a lobbyist for Louisiana Ammonia Producers, said he wasn’t opposed to reporting air quality conditions to those who live near a plant. He said plants already send emissions reports to the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality.
“What they are looking for is additional monitoring. I don’t think they’ve thought through that,” Harris said. “We’re talking a lot of money.”