Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Cherokee Nation have partnered to monitor the air quality near CPN headquarters in Shawnee. The data collected will help determine if pollutant levels in the air around Shawnee are a cause for concern.
“Ground-level ozone, or smog, is a potentially harmful air pollutant,” said Cody Braun, Environmental Coordinator, CPN. “Because the Tribe is located between two metropolitan areas with continual air quality problems, we’d like to see if this area is also being impacted.”
The air monitoring will take place through November and is being funded by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant.
“The reason I wrote a grant for the CPN to monitor ground-level ozone is that ozone concentrations have become increasingly worse across the state the past two years,” added Braun. “Furthermore, there is a positive correlation between the abnormally high temperatures we’ve experienced and recent ozone concentrations. Longer, hotter summers provide more opportunity for ground-level ozone to form and on hot days when wind conditions are right, CPN Headquarters may be downwind of pollutants that contribute to ozone formation.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the elderly, children, and those who are active and work outdoors are at the highest risk of having health problems when ground-level ozone concentrations are elevated.
CPN believes it is important to protect the health and welfare of its members and neighbors, and to preserve and conserve its natural resources through self-governance and self-determination. The Tribe’s air monitoring project will build tribal knowledge and increase the Tribe’s capacity to manage air quality issues.
“Air quality isn’t something that people living in rural areas typically concern themselves with,” continued Braun, “but air pollutants can be transported many miles. With Tribal members in mind, we’re interested in seeing – for the first time – what the air quality of the CPN/Firelake area is like.”