U.S Environmental Protection Agency Region 6
     Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs
         Environmental Justice Showcase Community

  Project   Update
               United States
               Environmental Protection
         Port Arthur, Texas - Westside Community - January - June 2010
Community comments frame Port Arthur Westside Showcase  Plan
On November 17, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Pro-
tection Agency (EPA) announced a new national ini-
tiative to address Environmental Justice (EJ) chal-
lenges in ten communities across the country. The
Westside community of Port Arthur, Texas was se-
lected as an EJ Showcase Community.

The EJ Showcase Community project will use a col-
laborative community-based approach to improve the
community's public health and the environment. On
January 19 and March 4, 2010, EPA held public
meetings in Port Arthur. EPA used input from these
meetings to develop an action plan for the project.

The following is a summary of issues raised during
the January 19, 2010, meeting.


Emergency Response
The community raised concerns about local area
emergency response planning for various emergency
situations, including accidental releases, explosions,
natural disasters, etc. There was also concern about
the current process for providing resident notifica-
tions during such events. Residents stated that emer-
gency notification methods should go beyond com-
puter, television or newspaper—particularly for eld-
erly and those who have limited access to those me-
diums. A concern was expressed that area roadways
might experience bottlenecks during future emer-
gency evacuation events.

Several general concerns were expressed about local
air quality. Residents mentioned odor issues and in-
dicated a need for more air monitoring at community
fence lines. Community concerns  exist about local
industrial facilities' green house emissions, incident
  EPA's Commitment to Environmental Justice

  "We must take special pains to connect with
  those who have been historically underrepre-
  sented in EPA decision-making, including the
  disenfranchised in our cities and rural areas,
  communities of color, native Americans, people
  disproportionately impacted by pollution, and
  small businesses,  cities, and towns working to
  meet their environmental responsibilities. Like
  all Americans, they deserve an EPA with an
  open mind, a big heart and a willingness to lis-
  ten... we must be sensitive to the burdens pollu-
  tion has placed on vulnerable subpopulations,
  including children, the elderly, the poor and all
  others who are at particular risk to threats to
  health and the environment. We must seek their
 full partnership in the greater aim of identifying
  and eliminating the sources of pollution in their
  neighborhoods, schools and homes. "
         — EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
air emissions, and releases to the environment.

The community expressed concerns about local
drinking water quality (such as taste, clarity, and
color). Concern exists about the wastewater being
discharged from the fish market operations (Kim's
                                                                        Continued on Pages 2-3
          Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs ~ 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75202

                                  Port Arthur, Texas - Westside Community, Project Update, January - June 2010 - Page 2
Shirley Augurson, Associate Director
for Environmental Justice, EPA Re-
gion 6 Office of Environmental Jus-
tice and Tribal Affairs, leads a break-
out session during a meeting with
community members in Port Arthur
in March.
EPA Region 6 Office of Environ-
mental Justice and Tribal Affairs Di-
rector Jeannine Hale takes notes
during a community meeting on the
Showcase Community project in Port
Arthur in January.
Deborah Ponder, EPA Region 6 Of-
fice of Environmental Justice and
Tribal Affairs Deputy Director, with
Port Arthur Mayor Deloris "Bobbie"
Prince during the March EJ Show-
case meeting.
General Environmental
•  The community asked for access to Material Safety Data Sheets
   (MSDSs) for chemicals or hazardous materials used, stored or pro-
   duced by local industry.
•  The community also asked for access to reports of what local indus-
   trial facilities are releasing or emitting to the environment.
•  The community is interested in creating buffers between residential
   areas and plant operations.
•  Concern was expressed about negotiations with industry (e.g., pipe-
   lines) for easements or right of ways across the residents' properties.
•  A resident expressed a desire that future environmental violation
   fines imposed on local industry be used to benefit the community
   (e.g., more use  of Supplemental Environmental Projects, or SEPs).

The residents expressed concerns about local health issues. Respiratory
ailments, asthma, cancer, and allergies are some specific community
health concerns. Some residents believe a long term health effects or
epidemiological study is needed for the community.

Economic Revitalization
The residents want more job  opportunities, particularly from local in-
dustry.  Some commenters were interested in reestablishing a local
brownfields to help with Westside redevelopment (such as removal of
blight, vacant property reuse, economic rebirth).

Other Concerns
•  The residents believe there are opportunities for improved communi-
   cations between all parties; between the residents and local industry
   (e.g., plant incidents, information about local industrial construction
   projects, plant operations and routine releases); and between the
   residents and local leaders.
•  Some individuals expressed a lack of trust of local government lead-
   ership. They do not trust  the state environmental department
   (TCEQ), and they  do not trust that EPA and the state are solving
   community problems.
•  Noise level  in the community is a concern.
•  A concern was  raised regarding the need for more developed recrea-
   tion facilities (e.g., parks, community meeting space, and green
•  The need for improved local leadership is a concern.
•  A concern was  expressed about local zoning.
•  There was a concern about local government seizure of privately-
   owned properties.
•  Some individuals expressed interest in potential resident relocation
   away from heavy industry.
            Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs ~ 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75202

                                Port Arthur, Texas - Westside Community, Project Update, January - June 2010 - Page 3

Proposed Showcase Project Activities
The activities listed below are being planned or considered for implementation in the Port Arthur Westside EJ
Showcase Community project. EPA will continue to pursue other ways to address the Westside community's
concerns.  If you have any suggestions or comments, please provide them to EPA by September 17, 2010.
   Emergency Response
•  Hold workshops on local emergency response plans
•  Participate in local notification exercise
•  Provide Citizen Emergency Response Training (CERT)
•  Inform community about EPA state wide initiative to improve
   state air permits
•  Inform community about area air quality data
•  Promote EPA's Healthy School Environments Programs to
   community schools
•  Educate community on asthma triggers
•  Inform community about area water quality data
•  Inform community about local public water system evaluation
•  Inform community about evaluation of water permits issued to
   area plants
•  Inform community about area groundwater data evaluation
Projects  supported  with  EPA  EJ
Showcase  Community  funds
.  Healthy  Homes Outreach Project,
  University of Texas Foundation in
  collaboration  with  University  of
  Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  and Community In Power and De-
  velopment Association, $14,799
.  After  School Environmental  Sci-
  ence Lab Project, Tekoa Charter
  School, $14, 550
.  Golden  Triangle  Empowerment
  Center  Job  Training  Program,
.  EPA 'Environmental Profile'  out-
  reach  document  development,
.  Facilitation services  at January 19,
  2010, meeting, $2,951
.  Future facilitation services, $6,120
Inform local leaders of recent state and federal environmental compliance plant inspections to encourage Sup-
plemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) for community

•  Develop or enhance local lead paint hazard outreach program
•  Hold Health Awareness Outreach Events

Economic Revitalization
•  Do site environmental assessments for downtown buildings to help reuse or redevelopment
•  Do downtown site inventory
•  Inform local leaders of Job Training grant opportunities

•  Hold event for South East Texas Regional Planning Commission and Industry Lighthouse Program
          Jeannine Hale, Director, Office of Environmental Justice & Tribal Affairs (214) 665-2136
      Deborah Ponder, Deputy Director, Office of Environmental Justice & Tribal Affairs (214) 665-7461
    Shirley Augurson,  Associate Director, Office of Environmental Justice & Tribal Affairs (214) 665-7401
           Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs ~ 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75202

    United States
    Environmental Protection

Region 6
Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs
1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200 (6RA-DA)
Dallas, TX 75202
Phone: 1-800-887-6063
 We're on the Web!
     Comments Requested on Port Arthur Westside Showcase Plan

EPA wants your comments on the proposed project
activities.  Send by September 17, 2010, to
augurson.shirley@epa.gov or by mail at
           Shirley Augurson (6RA-DJ)                 —
           US EPA Region 6
           1445 Ross Ave., Suite 1200
           Dallas, TX 75202

You can also provide your comments on the web at
www. epa.gov/region6/ej
          Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs ~ 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75202