The Bucket Overflows

Effluent pours from the stack of a "cancer alley" oil refinery in Louisiana.© LOUISIANA BUCKET BRIGADE

Volunteers in the Louisiana Bucket Brigade monitor air pollution in the neighborhoods adjoining ExxonMobil’s Chalmette Oil Refinery (see "Clearing the Smokescreen," Currents, March/April 2005). These activists have found that the refinery routinely leaks carcinogenic chemicals and suspect it contributes to illnesses in the region, which is commonly called "cancer alley." The Bucket Brigade and the St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil in 2004 under the Clean Air Act, and their efforts recently paid off. In February a U.S. District Court ruled that ExxonMobil has violated the Clean Air Act and is likely to continue doing so. Residents who have lived with the pollution feel vindicated, and are hopeful that the oil giant will clean up its act.

CONTACT: Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504)269-5070, www.labucketbrigade.org.

—Rebecca Sanborn