The Brandywine, MD-TEX project team had their first meeting on February 28, 2017 in the classroom of a JoAnn Fabrics store in Brandywine, Maryland. Kamita Gray, President of the Brandywine BTB Coalition, Akua Asa-Awuku, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, and Melissa Goodwin, Project Liaision for the Thriving Earth Exchange used the 1-hour meeting to get to know one another better, discuss the goals and methodology (broadly) of the project, and lay out plans to kickstart the project.
High levels of concentrated industrial activity in the vicinity of Brandywine are extremely troubling to Kamita’s neighborhood coalition. Therefore, to identify opportunities to mitigate emissions and their effects on the community, Kamita and her team have worked hard to open dialogues with industry representatives and regulatory bodies. However, unable to quantify those emissions, they’ve found that it is difficult to make much headway in these conversations. The TEX project and partnership with Akua will enable Brandywine to approach these conversations with data in hand to back up their concerns and assertions.
Over the coming weeks, Akua will begin brainstorming a sampling plan to collect the data Kamita needs. She will explore the needs and logistics of three pieces of Brandywine’s air quality puzzle in order of priority: particulate matter, gas-phase pollutants (EPA Criteria pollutants), and emissions from contaminated soil. To support these efforts, Kamita has shared background documents including a previous health impact assessment and details about the local power plants. Kamita has also introduced Akua to other faculty at the University of Maryland that have engaged with the community.
The project team will come together again the week of March 20 to regroup after this early review and begin making plans for the launch of this research effort.