For years Muscatine residents have complained about air pollution and subsequent health problems, many of them place the blame squarely on Grain Processing Corporation.
“Muscatine County is ranked 28th in the nation for particle matter pollutants, which is a serious pollutant. And in terms of GPC they are the biggest emitter of lead in the state,” says Jessica Brackett of Clean Air Muscatine.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the highest allowable amount of air pollution is 35 micrograms per meter of fine particulate matter. The citizens group known as Clean Air Muscatine says their area is routinely measuring much higher than that.
“Muscatine has actually violated those over 35 times last year,” says Brackett.
The last time Muscatine topped EPA air pollution thresholds: yesterday. Muscatine measured 70 micrograms per meter while the rest the state saw levels less than half that high. Which exactly why Brackett and more than 200 other Muscatine residents are attempting to join Iowa’s Attorney General in suing GPC for repeated air quality violations.
“There have been severe air quality issues in the area for years and this is really the first time the people of Muscatine could possibly be represented in matters that would help clean that up,” says Brackett adding that her group deals with air pollution in Muscatine on a near daily basis, and now they’re willing to do whatever they can to clean up.
“This community is ready to take action. They’re ready to say that this is a problem it’s been here for years let’s do something about it,” she says.
This afternoon a Muscatine County judge heard Clean Air Muscatine’s motion to join the attorney general’s lawsuit against GPC. It will take up to 4-6 weeks before they’ll if know the motion will be allowed.