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Air Monitors Disabled on Gulf Coast as Storm Unleashes Pollution

Aug. 27, 2020, 5:50 PM

As Hurricane Laura barreled toward the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, Texas and Louisiana regulators disabled dozens of air monitors meant to sniff out carcinogenic benzene, ozone-forming compounds, and other pollution.

Monitors installed across Beaumont and Houston -- the heart of the U.S. petrochemical and refining complex -- “are not designed to withstand hurricane-force winds,” the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said. Louisiana regulators also notified the federal government of plans to turn off air monitors ahead of the storm, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in an emailed statement.

Environmentalists and public health experts warned Thursday that without active air...

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