In June, Public Health Watch, the Investigative Reporting Workshop and Grist published a year-long investigation about pollution, power, and politics in the Texas petrochemical industry. This story shows what has happened in the six months since.
One by one, the residents filtered into the small community center and found seats in the rows of plastic chairs. Some were teenagers wearing yellow-and-black Galena Park High School letter jackets. Others were parents and grandparents juggling children. Many wore white headphones to hear the Spanish translator standing nearby. Everyone looked worried.
They had gathered on that chilly November night to learn what two new, high-tech monitors had found in the air in Galena Park and Jacinto City, neighboring towns in eastern Harris County, the epicenter of North America’s petrochemical industry. They were prepared for grim news.
“Everyone here knows pollution is a big problem,” said Maricela Serna, a former Galena Park commissioner who has one of the monitors on the roof of her tax p... Read more