Expert Monitoring Panel

Learn about the Air Quality Monitoring Expert Panel, assembled to recommend technologies, methods, and tools to improve monitoring capabilities near refineries.

Chevron Refinery Fire

On August 6, 2012, a significant fire occurred at the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California, resulting in a community warning, a five-hour shelter-in-place order, and medical treatment for thousands of residents. This incident prompted the Air District to identify several action steps to enhance the Air District’s response to similar incidents (PDF). One such action is to assemble a panel of air monitoring experts to recommend technologies, methods, and tools to improve community air monitoring capabilities near refineries.

Current Monitoring Capabilities Report

As part of this effort, the Air District contracted with Desert Research Institute to develop a report evaluating current air monitoring capabilities near refineries (PDF). This report was designed to provide the expert panel with a starting point for discussion.

Air Quality Monitoring Expert Panel

The Air District hosted a day-long panel discussion on July 11, 2013, to assess the latest technologies and trends in air quality monitoring. Expert panelists discussed how new approaches could be used to refine measurements and better inform communities near industrial areas about local air quality conditions. The following information from the panel discussion is available online:


Short biographies for the air monitoring expert panelists are available below:

George Allen

Mr. Allen is a Senior Scientist at the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, an interagency association of the eight northeastern states. At NESCAUM, Mr. Allen is responsible for monitoring and exposure assessment activities across a wide range of air quality topics, including regional haze, air toxics, on- and off-road diesel, near-road, wood smoke, and continuous aerosol measurement technologies. He is the author or co-author of more than 40 peer-reviewed journal papers on development and evaluation of measurement methods, exposure assessment, and air pollution health effects. Before joining NESCAUM in 2002, Mr. Allen was a professional staff member at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston for more than 20 years, where he worked on a broad range of EPA- and NIH-funded air pollution studies. While at HSPH, he developed several patented techniques for real-time aerosol measurements. Mr. Allen serves as the staff lead for the NESCAUM Monitoring and Assessment Committee. He represents states’ interests to EPA as a member of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies Monitoring Steering Committee and the chartered the EPA Clean Air Science Advisory Committee. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.

Michael Benjamin, Ph.D.

As Chief of the California Air Resources Board’s Monitoring and Laboratory Division, Dr. Benjamin oversees a staff of approximately 170 scientists, engineers, and field technicians who operate the statewide ambient air quality monitoring network, provide air monitoring capabilities following emergency air releases, conduct chemical analyses of ambient and vehicle exhaust, certify vapor recovery equipment, and develop regulations to reduce evaporative emissions from the gasoline distribution system and off-highway gasoline-fueled equipment. Dr. Benjamin has served in a variety of staff and management positions developing emissions inventories in support of regulations and air quality planning, and more recently overseeing the Air Resources Board’s economic analysis and extramural research programs. Prior to beginning his career at the Air Resources Board, Dr. Benjamin worked for five years conducting oceanographic research at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Dr. Benjamin received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, M.S. in Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College, and B.S. in Geology from Beloit College.

Philip Fine, Ph.D.

Dr. Fine is the Assistant Deputy Executive Officer for Science and Technology Advancement at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Dr. Fine oversees the SCAQMD ambient network of over 35 air monitoring stations, the laboratory, and numerous special air monitoring projects focusing on air toxics and the local impacts of air pollution. His previous responsibilities at the SCAQMD have included developing the Air Quality Management Plan, strategies for particulate matter control, climate and energy, meteorology and forecasting, air quality evaluation, emissions reporting, and air toxics risk assessment. Dr. Fine serves as SCAQMD's member for the California Air Resources Board-mandated Research Screening Committee. Prior to joining the SCAQMD, Dr. Fine was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, where he taught courses and conducted extensive research on particulate pollution and its health effects, resulting in over 45 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Dr. Fine received his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in Environmental Engineering Science, and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jay Gunkelman

Mr. Gunkelman, Quantitative Electroencephalography Diplomate, has served as president of The International Society for Neurofeedback and Research, a board member and treasurer of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, and is a past president of the Biofeedback Society of California. Mr. Gunkelman was the first EEG technologist to be certified in QEEG (1996) and was granted Diplomate status in 2002. He co-authored the textbook on EEG artifacting (2001) and has conducted, published, or participated in hundreds of research papers, articles, books, and international meetings. Mr. Gunkelman is co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Brain Science International and is a popular lecturer at neuroscience meetings worldwide. Mr. Gunkelman's involvement in the Air District’s panel is related to his community work designing the oldest continuously operated remote sensing fenceline system, with web community reporting, monitoring the Phillips 66 facility between Rodeo and Crockett, California. This includes FTIR, UV, TDLS, and point-source monitoring, as well as meteorological data, all with Internet tracking. These systems’ quality assurance and quality control documents, online efficiency standards, and community access are relevant to the interests to the panel.

Robert Harley, Ph.D.

Dr. Harley is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has been on the faculty since 1993. Dr. Harley's research focuses on air quality and sustainable transportation and he is an author of over 80 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering Science from the California Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Engineering Science (Chemical Engineering option) from the University of Toronto.

Thomas Kirchstetter, Ph.D.

Dr. Kirchstetter is a Staff Scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an Adjunct Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on air quality and climate-related implications of particulate matter, including emission trends and evaluation of emission controls. He has authored or co-authored over 50 publications on these topics and serves as an editor for the Aerosol Science & Technology Journal and the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Dr. Kirchstetter holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Atmospheric Science and Mathematics from the State University of New York, Albany.

Denny Larson

Mr. Larson has nearly 30 years of experience as a community organizer and campaigner working with industrial communities fighting for justice. He developed the first national network in the U.S. focused on oil refineries and the giant corporations that own them, as well as innovating the Bucket Brigade community air sampling system. He has helped communities in 27 countries and 100 partner groups establish their own air monitoring network. Mr. Larson has published a series of community organizing handbooks and co-authored a variety of environmental legislation and regulation pertaining to air pollution, accident prevention, and environmental monitoring policies at the local, regional, state, national, and international level. He has negotiated two dozen binding agreements with major polluters in conjunction with impacted communities to reduce tons of unnecessary pollution and create direct community oversight.

Gary Mueller

Mr. Mueller is a Principal Air Quality Consultant with HSE Services, Environmental Sciences Department of Shell Global Solutions (U.S.) Inc. His experience includes work in water and wastewater treatment, groundwater treatment, and, for the past 15 years, in air quality management programs. His job assignments have included both environmental research and technical operations support. He develops and maintains a skill pool with the necessary tools and competencies to assess and evaluate the impact of air emissions from Shell and other third-party customer operations on the environment and to mitigate any such impacts. During his career at Shell, Mr. Mueller has authored or coauthored over 20 technical papers and presentations on a variety of environmental topics. He has an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and has worked for Shell in a variety of environmental positions for over 32 years.

Jay Turner, Ph.D.

Dr. Turner is an Associate Professor of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. His research primarily focuses on air quality characterization and control with emphasis on field measurements and data analysis to support a variety of applications in the atmospheric science, regulation and policy, and health studies arenas. Current research projects include estimating lead emissions from piston engine aircraft, high-time resolution air toxics metals measurements, and long-term fenceline monitoring for gaseous air toxics and particulate matter species at an industrial facility. Dr. Turner currently serves on the Ambient Monitoring and Methods Subcommittee of the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, the Independent Technical Advisory Committee of the Texas Air Quality Research Program, and the Health Effects Institute project panel for the National Particle Components Toxicity Initiative. Dr. Turner holds a D.Sc. from Washington University, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, all in Chemical Engineering.

Gwen Yoshimura

Ms. Yoshimura is an air monitoring specialist in the Air Quality Analysis Office with EPA, Region 9, specializing in ambient air monitoring of lead and sulfur dioxide. She previously worked on air planning issues, focusing on lead and air toxics, in EPA's Region 7 office. Ms. Yoshimura has a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University.

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Last Updated: 8/3/2023