Thursday, December 9, 2010

Payless ShoeSource Gives Free Shoes for Children

St Bernard Children to Receive Free Shoes through “Payless Gives" 

The Community Center of St Bernard is pleased to announce that it has been selected as an official partner of Payless Gives, an annual giving program from Payless ShoeSource. The Center is among 800 charitable agencies representing all 50 states in the United States, across Canada and Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries to be part of the program.

The Community Center will be distributing coupons for shoes to children whose families participate in our Mustard Seed Food Pantry. Being in the Food Pantry means that each family has an income less than 130% of the federal poverty limit. In real dollar amounts, 98% of these families earn less than $25,000 annually, and 65% are struggling to get by on $10,000 per year or less.

“In its third year, the goal of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program remains the same -- to provide footwear, a basic necessity, to children who might otherwise go without,” said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless. “The success of the program over the past two years, and the number of children and families we have been able to assist, continues to drive our efforts. Unemployment is still very high, affecting many families that struggle to provide their children with basic essentials. This is especially challenging during the holidays, and with the Community Center of St Bernard's help, we hope to make a bigger impact than ever this year.”

For more information about the ways in which the Community Center is helping St Bernard residents this holiday season, please visit the website at   or call 504.281.2512

Sunday, December 5, 2010

undermining democracy

Philip Radford
Executive Director, Greenpeace
Huffington Post Article

 we believe it is every citizen's right to stand up for the health of their children and community without fearing retribution, an invasion of privacy, conspiracy against them or theft of their belongings

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Photo Op

The Live Oak Trees which grace Judge Perez Blvd were decorated overnight on November 30th to announce the start of the holiday season. The candy canes and peppermint ribbon-candied bows are the result of the art and other works of many residents and other community members under the guidance of the St. Bernard Community Foundation's Neighborhood Initiatives Director, Ms. Polly Campbell.

The St. Bernard Parish Tourism Commission reminds everyone to enjoy the events of the holiday season, including:

Christmas Tour of Homes  Historic Old Arabi Neighborhood   Cost: $12-$15  278.4242   Thursday, December 9th @ 11am-2pm &  6-9pm

Islenos Christmas Bonfire   Islenos Museum Complex  Admission Free   554-8412   Sunday, December 12th @ 5pm

Christmas at Sebastopol   Sebastopol Plantation   Admission Free    278-4242  Sunday, December 12th @ 6pm
Yuletide Celebration at the Malus-Beauregard House  Chalmette Battlefield   Admission Free   589-2636  Saturday, December 11th &    Sunday, December 12th @ 10am-4pm

For more information, call the Tourist Commission at 504-278-4242 or go to


Friday, December 3, 2010

Concerned Citizens Seek EPA Veto on Murphy Oil Air Permit

Louisianans Demand Action From U.S. EPA

Courthouse News Service

Complaint filed December 2010

Petition to Administrator of the U S EPA to Object to Murphy Oil's Air Permit

Press Release

EPA asked to Veto Murphy Oil's Air Permit

Concerned Citizens Ask EPA to Veto Murphy Oil's Air Permit

St. Bernard Parish, LA, December 2, 2010 – Concerned Citizens Around Murphy ("Concerned Citizens") filed suit yesterday to compel EPA to veto a Clean Air Act permit for Murphy Oil U.S.A., Inc.’s refinery in Meraux, Louisiana. Concerned Citizens brought the action because the permit fails to require state-of-the-art pollution control technology. Concerned Citizens Around Murphy v. Jackson, No. 2:10-cv-04444 (E.D. La. Dec. 1, 2010).

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued the permit to Murphy in October 2009. Concerned Citizens, represented by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, petitioned EPA to object in December 2009. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must grant or deny these types of petitions within 60 days. Yesterday’s lawsuit seeks a court order to force EPA to respond.

The permit is for a processing unit for low-benzene gasoline products at Murphy’s Meraux refinery. LDEQ based the permit limits on pollution estimates that fell below a threshold for installation of state-of-the-art pollution controls (known as Best Available Control Technology). The Concerned Citizens’ petition to EPA, however, shows that LDEQ miscalculated and that changes to the refinery are “major,” triggering the requirement for more stringent pollution control technology. The petition also shows that LDEQ failed to gather enough emission data to make a reliable judgment about whether Murphy’s application triggered the requirement for state-of-the-art controls.

“We may have to bear increased emissions in our neighborhood because of this project. But we believe that Murphy Oil’s application low-balled how much those emissions would increase,” said Suzanne Kneale, an officer in Concerned Citizens. “If Murphy Oil showed how much they will really emit of volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide, then we’ll know what we’re dealing with,” she said.

The filing of this lawsuit comes a week after the refinery accidentally leaked at least 500 lbs. of sulfur dioxide—a pollutant that can cause breathing problems and respiratory disease. Also, the group sees a connection between lax emission controls and St. Bernard Parish’s failure to meet EPA’s new health protection standard for sulfur dioxide concentrations in air.

“If our air has too much of a pollutant like sulfur dioxide already, then it’s important to know the facts when a facility plans to put much more of it in our air,” said Suzanne Kneale. “If pollution exceeds a certain level, then requiring controls could rein it in to safer levels. We can have both safer emissions as well as provide for public health and our quality of life—the choice doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

Under the Clean Air Act, if the Administrator of the EPA objects to the permit, either EPA or LDEQ will modify, terminate, or revoke and reissue the permit to correct the deficiencies.

The Concerned Citizens’ petition to EPA and yesterday’s lawsuit against EPA raises a separate issue from the permit violations involved in an earlier lawsuit between the Concerned Citizens and Murphy. Yesterday’s lawsuit involves a dispute about appropriate permit limits, as opposed to the permit violations that were at issue in the earlier lawsuit. In that earlier case, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Murphy “frequently violated its permits by exceeding emission limitations and continued to violate them after plaintiffs filed suit.” Concerned Citizens Around Murphy v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., No. 08-4986 (E.D. La. Feb. 3, 2010). After that ruling, the Concerned Citizens joined Global Consent Decree negotiations with EPA, Murphy, and LDEQ. These negotiations resulted in a draft Consent Decree that EPA lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on September 28, 2010. (The Consent Decree is lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin because it governs both of Murphy’s U.S. refineries, one of which is located in Superior, Wisconsin.) That Consent Decree is expected to resolve the lawsuit between the Concerned Citizens and Murphy and the Concerned Citizens are hopeful that the Consent Decree will result in increased cooperation between the refinery and its neighbors. The Concerned Citizen’s view yesterday’s lawsuit as part of their ongoing participation in the public permitting process and are optimistic that they will reach an early and cooperative resolution with EPA.

Concerned Citizens is a residents’ advocacy group whose purpose is to protect the health, safety, environment, and quality of life of Meraux and the surrounding communities in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.


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