NORTH RICHMOND -- Chevron recently installed a new air-monitoring station at Fire Station 62, which will provide real-time data about what chemicals are in the air.

The oil company is nearly finished installing six air-monitoring stations -- three along the fence line of the refinery and three in residential neighborhoods. Chevron completed the fence line stations in April, and they are currently transmitting data. Workers recently installed the first of the neighborhood stations, in North Richmond, and it will begin sharing data within two weeks.

All of the stations will be run by Argos Scientific Inc., an independent contractor that has experience operating similar air-monitoring systems at other refineries in the region.

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, of Richmond, who serves as a member of the California Air Resources Board, said it's good that Chevron is sharing more data with the public. But he said the Bay Area Air Quality Management District won't be able to impose fines and penalties based on the data they transmit, because a third party is installing and operating the monitors.

"The bottom line is, you want monitors that are reviewed by an independent public agency," Gioia says.

This article was produced by RichmondConfidential.org, a nonprofit news service based in the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.