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Green Army advocates for change in safety policy

Photo provided by staff.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 7:43pm

The Green Army is on a mission to help protect people living in Louisiana. Their mission includes fighting to make it safer for people living near chemical facilities and for the people who work there too.

"There is pollution happening there is chemicals security breeches every week of the year in this state. We're here as the green army and as our individual organizations ...working together to say enough is enough," Anne Rolfes, with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, said.

They say it's time for state and federal officials to come together and keep a closer eye on what's going on inside oil and chemical facilities.

"These companies are basically doing just what they want," Ret. Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, US Army, environmental activist, said.

That's why the Green Army submitted their ideas on how to fix the problems to the "Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group." They're the group President Obama put in charge of helping look at ways to improve safety and security in chemical facilities. The group was in town Wednesday for a special meeting.

The Green Army was there too. They want to see a joint task force created to help monitor and respond to accidents at plants more quickly, and situations like what happened in Bayou Corne.

"Under what we are saying here today that would be automatic for a request for a team to go in there a joint team state and federal officials to go in there and determine what's happening," Honore said.

Next they want to see better warning systems like sirens --to help alert people living near by if there's an accident.

"The chain link fence is not magical pollution does not stop at that fence line it goes into our neighborhoods," Darryl Malek-Wiley, with the Sierra Club, said.

Then they want to get officials to give the chemical and safety board more control.

"Give the Chemical Safety Board the full authority of the law. Give it the same kind of teeth that the National Transportation Safety Board has," Rolfes said.

The Green Army needs your help to make all of this happen too. That's why they're asking you, if you smell something, say something.

"We've become condition here to think that it's just the sugar cane burning it's no problem. There is something going on when you smell something," Honore said.

Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group officials say they'll take the comments they get from people at these listening session into consideration when they make their report to the president advising him on the changes that need to be made.

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