CONCERNED RESIDENTS SPEAK UP ~ Air Monitoring Needed in Ohio Valley

by Duane Nichols on April 26, 2022

Air & water pollution affect us all, youths, adults & seniors

Air Quality Monitoring Ongoing in Ohio Valley

From the Spring 2022 Newsletter of Concerned Ohio River Residents, WV, OH, PA

The portion of the valley targeted for the Thailand-based PTT Global petrochemical complex to take advantage of fracking in the region is designated as an attainment area when it comes to air quality measurements, but that designation was questioned by FreshWater Accountability Project (FAP) and others because of the poor air quality in the region, especially during air inversion events, where the air gets trapped near the ground in the valleys.

Poor air quality can be caused by fracking and frack pad operations, the many associated pipelines, compressor stations, truck traffic, processing facilities and other huge polluting facilities along the river. Other facilities that can emit harmful pollutants may not require air permits, such as frack waste processing facilities like injection wells, which are not regulated for air quality be because they are classified as “de-minimis” emitters. All the industrial pollution in a region are permitted separately, and no consideration is given to the cumulative pollutant load in a region like Belmont County, the most heavily fracked county in Ohio.

The American Geophysical Union developed a community-driven science protocol called the Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX). FreshWater took advantage of the TEX opportunity to request scientific assistance for the baseline air monitoring project. Fortunately, two scientists volunteered to help with this project, Garima Raheja now studying at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York, and Lyssa Freese, studying at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

With their expert assistance along with our local lead scientist, Dr. Yuri Gorby, and others such as Ana Hoffman of the Create Lab, FreshWater was able to assemble a high-functioning team of experts and advocates to interface with community members to educate and involve them in their own protection and advocacy. Through the TEX project, webinars were presented and a white paper was submitted for peer review entitled Community-Based Participatory Research for Low-Cost Air Pollution Monitoring in the Wake of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development in the Ohio River Valley – Empowering Impacted Residents through Community Science.

This community-based science project has been ongoing for two years and needs to expand to serve more impacted communities. We are seeking more community members to join our program, especially those who are experiencing adverse health issues from air pollution who would like to have air monitors to help determine sources and causes. There is a need for more Ohio Valley residents to help deploy the low-cost monitors and educate community members on toxic air emissions, how to document, and how to protect themselves. Through this program, the US EPA has paid more attention to citizen concerns.

A valid case is being made that there is too much toxic pollution in the valley to allow another massive polluter like an ethane cracker plant the size of the Shell petrochemical complex that will come on line just 70 miles upstream from the proposed PTT Global cracker plant in Dilles Bottom. Through this community-driven citizen science program, it is hoped that local officials, Jobs Ohio, regulators and legislators will work to provide better protections to those living in regions of heavy UOGD and that the science will be used to hold polluters accountable for their harms as well as to inform decisions regarding the permitting of heavy polluters such as the PTT Global cracker plant.

If you would like to join this project, please contact Lea Harper at, or message on the Facebook page, FreshWater Accountability Project. Read the entire post here.


See Also: Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community |

Citizens have “a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment.”
Article 1 Section 27 Pennsylvania Constitution

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