Pascagoula Residents React to Chevron Leak

Burning noses, throats and eyes are just a few symptoms residents in the neighborhood surrounding the Chevron refinery say they’ve experienced after a gas leak earlier this week. So far, there have been no positive results for harmful chemicals but air monitoring is still underway.
Pascagoula resident Barbara Weckesser has lived in the Cherokee neighborhood for years. This week’s gas leak at the Chevron refinery is the same story to her, just on a different day. “We have been working on odors and issues in our neighborhood for over three years. It’s not just Chevron, it’s all those Title 5 companies are putting out emissions into the air.”
Weckesser says she and her neighbors started to smell emissions from the gas leak at Chevron on Sunday, a smell created and released when the roof of a tank containing 100 to 200 thousand barrels of gasoline partially collapsed.
Leaders of the Steps Coalition say their biggest concern is the refinery’s lack of initial notice to surrounding areas about the leak. “This event happened on Sunday. Chevron was aware first thing Monday morning, but the first press release didn’t come out until Tuesday in the afternoon and that was when the citizens we actually work with notified the press,” said Howard Page.
Chevron says they have resolved this refinery leak but residents in the Cherokee neighborhood still want to know more. “We’re looking for them to do something to lower their emissions on some level,” said Weckesser, “Put monitoring up in our neighborhood that will actually tell us what we are breathing.”
At Wednesday’s press conference, Chevron leaders said they’ve done a two hour rotation of air monitoring out in the community at a minimum of nine sites since the leak. The Steps Coalition is asking Chevron for proof of their readings. Jennifer Crosslin with the Steps Coalition said, “with these monitor reports that they say is zero, get this information that they demonstrate to the public that there is no real threat.”
Today, the Coast Guard Gulf Strike team has sent two teams in to conduct additional air monitoring to provide independent validation of Chevron’s findings.
To report concerns, You can call the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-222-6362.

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