Upon reading, "EPA to end air monitoring near controversial plant" by Sara Sneath, it is most concerning that the Environmental Protection Agency is ceasing monitoring of the Denka Performance Elastomer facility in LaPlace this December.
If the EPA is basing compliance on the facility's self-reporting of a reduction of chloroprene emissions, they have failed to protect area residents with an independent confirmation of the reported reduction and they have failed to validate that the current emissions are below the 0.2 microgram per cubic meter deemed safe by their own standards.
It also seems unsafe to discontinue the monitoring of this facility given that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Equality's plan to track cancer victims with a door-to-door canvas was thwarted after six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the LSU Health Sciences Center is planning to resume the project with phone interviews, wouldn't it make more sense for the EPA to withhold any changes to monitoring until the health data of the surrounding residents is completed and evaluated?
It's alarming that the EPA would throw in the towel at this point, given that their task is incomplete and this area contains the five highest cancer risk census tracts in the country. Even more concerning is the EPA’s failure to fully disclose why the agency is ceasing air monitoring of the Denka plant.
These residents deserve a better response and should not bear the financial burden to monitor their air quality and to protect themselves from harmful environmental air pollution.