Together, with the power of the Bucket, we have won cleaner air, new laws and regulations, families relocated to safer neighborhoods, children moved to a healthier school, the closure of notorious toxic facility, and companies investing in improving their operations to reduce pollution.
These victories are not ours alone.
While they may have been accelerated by the expertise and experience that we bring to the table, these victories are borne out of the local struggles of communities, those who are most directly impacted by the pollution and who are fighting for the health of their families.
2015 – GCM’s work to expose the hidden problem of formaldehyde in laminate flooring goes global after being featured in a hard-hitting 60 Minutes piece.
2014 – Community-Based Science for Action Conference, was held in New Orleans. During this two-day conference, co-sponsored by GCM, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Public Lab, we hosted over 50 health professionals participating in the American Public Health Association conference and 100 attendees from 14 states and 3 countries.
2014 – GCM worked in partnership with Coming Clean and community partners to produce an academic journal article and release Warning Signs, a national report on fracking. The report, which received international press coverage, is based on community partners monitoring work around fracking and natural gas operations in five states and provided a snapshot of fracking in the country, the lack of regulations and the human health and environmental impacts.
2013 – In New York, Tonawanda Coke and their Environmental Manager were found guilty of 14 acts violating the Clean Air Act. This landmark verdict is just the second trial to focus on the Clean Air Act’s air pollution regulation of major industrial businesses. This decision came almost ten years after air samples exposing benzene in the Tonawanda air. Through relentless activism by residents of Tonawanda, and the the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, Tonawanda Coke will pay $200 million in fines and cleaning up their act.
2013 – In Chicago, Environmental Law Policy Center (ELPC) Sustainable Englewood Initiatives (SEI), Northwestern University Environmental Law Clinic and other community partners negotiated with Norfolk Southern railroad and the City of Chicago for diesel pollution reductions, new green space, sustainability efforts and job training. The majority of the groups think that the monitoring played a huge role in pushing the City and Norfolk Southern to come to an agreement.
2012 – GCM was the only organization to take wipe samples of oily soot and ash following the fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California. From five samples, three results came back with elevated levels of benzo(a)pyrene and (PAHs). PAHs, especially benzo(a)pyrene, are toxic compounds that can lead to increased cancer risk with long-term exposure.
2012 – GCM, in conjunction with TriCounty Watchdogs, released a report documenting the impacts of diesel exhaust pollution on schools and homes in the Central Valley along I-5 corridor which has seen an increase in traffic as a result of the growing global goods movement.
2011 – As GCM celebrates a decade of breathing new life into communities as the world’s most requested community air monitoring program, long time community partner and GCM Board member Hilton Kelley wins the most prestigious environmental award in the world: the Goldman Environmental Prize
2010 – In India as a result of ongoing community monitoring and advocacy, the Central Pollution Control Board temporarily bans new industrial projects in Cuddalore. The announcement, which targets industry in the country’s worst polluted areas, is a result of continued pressure and ongoing environmental monitoring.
2010 – Persistent activism and an innovative dust study by Claymont, Delaware residents result in a state order for Evraz Claymont Steel to bring emissions under control through pollution control upgrades within three years or face financial penalties.
2009 – The Thailand Supreme Court rules in favor of the local residents and EARTH by placing an injunction on 65 proposed expansion projects in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong Province because of unhealthy pollution levels. In order to proceed, each company must provide a detailed health and environmental impact report.
2008 – The first International Bucket Brigade Conference is held in New Delhi, India. Delegates from India, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America gather to share their successes and challenges in using monitoring strategies to win environmental justice.
2008 – GCM works closely with USA Today on a national investigation which reveals that tens of thousands of children across the country are attending schools in the shadows of industrial polluters and are being exposed to unsafe toxicant levels.
2007 – In a milestone court case, CITGO oil company is convicted in federal court on five criminal counts of violating the Clean Air Act. Citizens for Environmental Justice in Corpus Christi, Texas has been hot on CITGO’s trail for many years with active Bucket pollution patrols around its refineries.
2007 – In Berkeley, California, GCM introduces the particle monitor as the latest addition in the community toolkit. GCM also pioneers new testing methods which, for the first time, attribute the source of high particulate levels in the area to a scrap steel plant, as opposed to freeway traffic as previously assumed.
2006 – High school students in Oakland, California are trained in Bucket Brigade technology and begin to patriol their neighborhood and capture particulate samples from the local scrap metal recycler. A year later, lab analysis finds dangerous levels of lead and chromium near their school campus.
2006 – In anticipation of Neighborhood Citizens of Northwest Ocala, Florida launching a Bucket Brigade to detect soot and metals coating their homes, cars and lungs, the Royal Oak charcoal plant shuts down, rather than be put to the test.
2006 – By monitoring the refinery and delaying an expansion permit, Community In-Power Development Association, Inc. wins a landmark good neighbor agreement with Motiva (Shell) in Port Arthur, Texas. The agreement requires additional air monitors, and $3.5 million for the restoration of Port Arthur. Shell also agrees to emission controls beyond what is required by law.
2005 – The Westside Action Group and Ohio Citizen Action, bolstered by Bucket sampling, compel Lanxess Plastics to reduce its overall pollution, especially cancer causing butadiene. Nearby Meredith Hitchens Elementary closes because air samples showed chemical levels unsafe for children.
2005 – Responding to remarkable protests, media coverage and Bucket sampling, by Rubbertown Emergency Action,the Metro Council of Louisville, Kentucky passes the Strategic Toxic Air Reduction Program which targets 18 toxic chemicals for reduction at industrial plants.
2004 – In South Africa, community and national groups use Bucket samples to win a state-of-the-art air toxics monitoring program, pollution reductions and new national air quality legislation.
2003 – GCM launches its first Asian Bucket Brigade program, partnering with community groups in the Philippines to address health concerns about a massive oil depot.
2002 – Citizens of Norco, Louisiana win full community relocation from Shell Chemical. Bucket sampling reveals the presence of 20 chemicals in every breath of air.
2001 – Building off a six-year pilot project in California, one man with a Bucket makes it his mission to change the world. Global Community Monitor is born.