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Life On the Fence Line

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Texas Observer staff writer Melissa del Bosque and multimedia editor Jen Reel spent three months documenting the lives of residents living along the fence line of the Kochs’ refineries. Suffering from chronic illnesses and cancer, residents want to move but no one will buy their homes at a price that will allow them to relocate. They say living next to the refineries is not only dangerous but a poverty trap, due to medical bills, missed work days and wages lost to illness. To make their situation more bearable, residents say they’d like to see more governmental oversight and tougher environmental regulations to reduce the pollution. But Koch Industries has a different agenda. Read KochWorld¬†for the full story.

Jen Reel was an Observer intern before joining the staff in July 2010, first as Web Editor, and most recently as Multimedia Editor. She received a Masters in Journalism with a concentration in Photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was co-chair for the student chapter of the National Press Photographers Association. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the Peruvian-American Medical Society and has been published in Utne Reader magazine, the Village Voice and Pitchfork Music.