• June 21st, 2024
  • Friday, 07:48:38 PM

Community is Monitoring Suncor Refinery’s Air Pollution


Photo: Cultivando Hundreds gathered near the Suncor refinery in Fairfax Park, to learn how to participate in community air monitoring of pollution from the Commerce City refinery.

This past weekend, hundreds of community members and dozens of organizations gathered near the Suncor refinery in Fairfax Park to kick off and learn how to participate in community air monitoring of pollution from the Suncor refinery, how to call for denial of Suncor’s Title V pollution permit, and to learn more about the community’s vision for healing and a just transition.

 

“Justice is not charity – after nearly a century of environmental injustices, impacted frontline communities finally have a voice,” said one of the event planners, community organizer Luz “Lucy” Molina. “This is only the beginning.”

 

The Suncor oil refinery—in Commerce City, Colorado—is a primary contributor to the 80216 zip code being the most polluted in the U.S. The residents of this working class, primarily community of color suffer health impacts from the frequent pollution violations from the refinery.

 

Photo: Cultivando Community and allied groups are working together toward a safer, healthier, and more just environment

“The Air Pollution Control Division must reject Suncor’s Title V permit to pollute,” said local resident Shaina Oliver, with Moms Clean Air Force and Eco-Madres. “Communities have been burdened enough with cancer, heart disease, asthma, nosebleeds, migraines, birth defects and who knows what else. Kids of this community deserve a safe environment free from emissions that cause cancer and exacerbate climate change. Like with what we’re seeing in the heat waves, 120 degree weather and droughts. We must change our way of living.”

 

“For the first time, community members will know what is coming out of the refinery at all times and as it is happening.”
Olga González, Cultivando

 

Community members celebrated the kickoff of Cultivando’s community-led environmental justice project that will include the continuous monitoring of Suncor’s air pollution and an evaluation of the health risks to the community. The community and allied groups are working together toward a safer, healthier, and more just environment.

 

“For the first time, community members will know what is coming out of the refinery at all times and as it is happening,” said Olga González, Cultivando Executive Director. “The Cultivando promotoras, both from Commerce City and Globeville, Elyria and Swansea, will help to get the information to the public. A bilingual website that reports the data in real time will be available to everyone. You won’t have to wait for an alert from Suncor to protect your children.”

 

The EcoFiesta included speakers from local organizations leading environmental justice efforts, free food, kids’ activities, live music by Brothers of Brass, dance performances by a local Baile Folklorico group and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company and educational tables by environmental and community nonprofit organizations. Community members signed up to get involved in Cultivando’s air monitoring program and other efforts to protect the community’s health and shared their vision for a transition beyond Suncor to a safe, healthy, just environment.

 

“Impacted communities must be at the forefront of identifying solutions to the problems that they face and that have been created by Suncor and systems that grant permits without consideration for our health,” added González. “It is time to let the community have an opportunity to solve this issue! Equity also requires real investments of funding and resources in our community. Suncor claims they want to be a good neighbor – well here is their opportunity to make good on that intention.”

 

The event was sponsored by 350 Colorado, Be the Change, Black Parents United Foundation, Clean Energy Action, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (comprised of over 33 nonprofit groups), Colorado Latino Forum, Cultivando, Desmog Denver, EcoMadres, Friends of the Earth US, The Green House Connection Center & Gallery, GreenLatinos, Moms Clean Air Force Colorado Chapter, North Range Concerned Citizens, Sierra Club, Spirit of the Sun, Sustainable Resilient Longmont, The Green House, Waste No More and Wild Earth Guardians.

 

For more information, visit www.cultivando.org.

 

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