Community meeting to focus on environment issues, local workforce in Port Arthur

Published 12:28 am Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Port Arthur Community Action Network and Lone Star Legal Aid on Wednesday will host a community meeting to update residents on work being done by PA-CAN and their legal partners.

It will be the first of five such events held over the course of a year.

“These community chats are not only just to talk about what we’re doing in a number of areas, but also to hear from the community on some of their issues so our advisory board and board of directors has a direct line to the community,” said John Beard, CEO of PA-CAN. “This will be an update on all the work myself and PA-CAN are doing.”

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Topics this week include recent flaring from area industrial facilities, an update on complaints filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, flooding issues and Beard’s work as a liaison with the Texas Water Development Board.

Another topic, he said, is refinery expansions and their impact on the community, particularly as it relates to unemployment.

“How do we change the complexion of the city when we have people here that aren’t working?” Beard said. “We lag so far behind the entire region in that way, yet we have more expansion in refineries and plants than anyone else in the area.”

According to the most recent report from the Texas Workforce Commission, unemployment in April showed a decline with 3.8 percent as compared to 5.7 percent in April 2021.

However, of the metro areas monitored by the state agency, the Beaumont-Port Arthur region had the second highest number of unemployed residents at 6.5 percent. The highest was 6.9 percent in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission.

“We want to do more than just talk about these things, but get down to the root of these problems,” Beard said. “We want to let people know someone is working on their complaints.”

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the West Side Development Center, 601 W. Rev. Dr. Ransom Howard St.

Those in attendance will be eligible to win a free indoor air monitor.

For more information, email pacanportarthur@gmail.com.