MassDEP Investing in Air Quality Sensors in Environmental Justice Communities

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BOSTON — To celebrate Earth Week, the Healey-Driscoll Administration will dedicate $775,000 to install new air quality sensors across the state and put advanced monitoring technology into environmental justice communities to track local air quality and protect public health. 
The funding was announced by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner Bonnie Heiple during a tour of a MassDEP air monitoring station in Kenmore Square in Boston – one of 24 air monitoring stations currently located across the state.? 
"The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to addressing toxic air emissions impacting residents across Massachusetts – especially environmental justice communities that have historically carried this burden of our industrial legacy," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. "We look forward to working with communities like Boston, environmental justice advocates, and residents to collect data and develop measurable progress to ensure all families are breathing clean, healthy air."? 
MassDEP's air monitoring stations test for pollutants such as ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Those data are posted in near real-time on the MassAir Online portal. MassDEP also provides air quality forecasts for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) year-round and for ozone during the summer ozone season.?  
Two programs funded by this $775,000 investment will support air sensors to expand on the information provided by the air monitoring stations. 
First, the Particulate Matter Air Sensor Grant Program provides "PurpleAir" air sensors at no cost to community-based and non-profit organizations, tribal communities, and municipalities. These softball-sized sensors monitor air quality by measuring fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The data from the sensors is displayed in real time on the PurpleAir website, as well as on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Fire and Smoke Map.?Sensor recipients can use that information to work with MassDEP, residents, and community groups to assess local air quality and identify areas with higher pollution levels where mitigation efforts can be directed to protect public health.?This round of investment will deploy 202 sensors across the state, supplementing the 248 sensors distributed in 2021.  
Second, the Multi-Pollutant Sensor Pilot program will allow MassDEP to initially partner with two or three communities to deploy advanced air monitoring technology – black carbon and multi-pollutant air sensors – in or near environmental justice populations on a pilot basis. Forty black carbon sensors will characterize diesel emissions in areas that experience high levels of truck traffic. Fifty multi-pollutant air sensors will measure fine particulates (PM2.5), carbon monoxide, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide.?The resulting data will expand awareness of local air quality conditions and inform strategies to reduce exposure to pollutants, as well as inform future placement of the sensors. 

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Lanesborough Has Hot, Quiet Election Day

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Voting was slow but steady at Lanesborough Town Hall.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town had a steady and sweltering election day that saw Deborah Maynard elected to the Select Board. 
Maynard outpolled Joseph Trybus 181-87 to fill the seat left vacant by longtime board member John Goerlach.
About halfway through polling hours, about 150 people had turned out in the 90-degree weather to cast votes for the Select Board, Finance Committee, Planning Board, library trustee, and town moderator. In total, about 400 votes were cast out of the 2,515 registered voters, or about 16 percent.
"It's been kind of slow but steady," poll worker Sheila Parks said. "No exciting news, which is good."
Town Clerk Ruth Knysh guessed that many would vote after work. Polls opened at noon at Town Hall and closed at 8 p.m.
"It's going great. It's been steady since we opened the doors at noontime. No issues at all," she said. "So we're hoping for smooth sailing until eight o'clock tonight."
Earlier in the day, there was road construction in front of the town offices that could have been a deterrent, she observed.
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