Monday, December 15, 2008

Emissions Increase Requested



Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery has applied for an expedited air permit from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The December 5, 2008 application and request for expedited permit processing is for "Maintaining tank capacity availability by replacement of existing tanks that are no longer in service with tanks with more stringent emission controls."


"MOUSA is undertaking this project to replace previously existing tanks and to address post-Katrina storage capacity shortages. The use of domed internal floating roofs on Tanks 80-9 and 80-10A, as well as an internal floating roof on Tank 1-3A, will result in significant reductions in VOC emissions versus the previously existing tanks. The construction of Tank 80-5A will enable tank farm changes to accommodate the future BenFree Unit, which must be built and operational by January, 2010 to satisfy the Mobile Source Air Toxics rule." (emphasis added)

However, embedded in the application, documents report Murphy Oil "intends to submit a permit modification application to the LDEQ Permits Division by December 31, 2008 to incorporate the appropriate emissions limits..." (emphasis added) (EDMS document #38894488 page 297)

Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery looms over our little residential neighborhoods and simple compliance with the existing emission limits agreed to when applied for will result in immediate and significant improvements to the quality of life and air quality in Meraux and Chalmette.

Murphy Oil requests interim emission limits, noting "the current 5.3 lb/hr maximum limit for SO2 cannot be achieved and was established based upon erroneous flow information. More accurate flow monitoring has demonstrated higher flows to the flare than were used in the permit calculations." (EDMS document #38894488 pages 304, 305)

Emission changes for the North Flare are listed in the following table from EDMS Document 37782719 dated 07/31/2008.



Murphy Oil is also expected to request emission limit changes for H2S for the North and South Flares from 50 TPY to 50 lb/day. As part of a" flare gas recovery system intended to achieve long-term reductions of H2S to the flares with corresponding SO2 emissions reductions" Murphy Oil intends to submit a feasibility study to the LDEQ by June 20, 2009. (pages 296, 304, 305 EDMS document # 38894488)
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Residents also have a growing concern about VOC emissions from Tank 200-7, located within hundreds of feet of residential homes and school bus stops along Ohio Street and Despaux and Jacob Drives.

"Since Tank 200-7 is a group 2 tank, it does not currently have any controls." As with all of Murphy Oil's storage tanks, residents have previously requested independent monitoring of VOC releases to protect public health and continued compliance assurance measures to guarantee Murphy Oil's emissions are within the existing permitted levels.

VOC emissions from Tank 200-7 were listed at nearly 500 times the permitted amounts (page 286 EDMS document # 38894488), however, as Murphy reports in its response (page 297 EDMS document #38894488) " the emissions estimates provided in the March 2008 notification were conservative high estimates and that subsequent investigation indicates that the emissions are much lower."

Murphy Oil is continuing its review, however any changes to storage tank controls or processing improvements may not be implemented until mid 2009 or later. Murphy Oil "is also investigating control methods" for the heavy oil storage tank and the feasibility of processing changes for the No. 6 Fuel Oil stream. "Current efforts are focused at improving operations to reduce the vapor pressure of the No. 6 Oil." "The higher vapor pressure results in higher estimated emissions. " (pages 297, 298 EDMS document # 38894488)

Murphy Oil has "indicated that the vapor pressure of the No. 6 Oil managed in Tank 200-7 and at the dock was greater than previously believed during the permitting of such units" and that at times its No. 6 Fuel Oil's vapor pressure exceeds the storage tank's permitted vapor pressure of less than 1.5 psia. (EDMS document # 36833563, dated March 4, 2008, EDMS document # 38894488, dated December 5, 2008 , page 286, 287)

Emissions Increase Requested



Residents are concerned about the omnipresence Tank 200-7, located within hundreds of feet of residential homes and school bus stops along Ohio Street and Despaux and Jacob Drives.


"Since Tank 200-7 is a group 2 tank, it does not currently have any controls."
VOC emissions from Tank 200-7 were listed at nearly 400 times the permitted amounts (page 286 EDMS document # 38894488).

As with all of Murphy Oil's storage tanks, residents have previously requested independent monitoring of VOC releases to protect public health.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

This picture was taken in August 2008 of an incident at the Murphy Oil Meraux refinery which is still under investigation at this date.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Murphy Oil USA Inc air permit application

Murphy Oil USA Inc / Murphy Oil USA Inc - Meraux Refinery
AI 1238 Permit Number 2500-00001-V4
PER2008006 application date December 5, 2008

Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery has applied for an expedited air permit from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

The December 5, 2008 application and request for expedited permit processing is for "Maintaining tank capacity availability by replacement of existing tanks that are no longer in service with tanks with more stringent emission controls."

No further details are available at this time.

http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/apps/pubNotice/pdf/open_expedited_requests.pdf

LDEQ public document # 38881578 dated 12/03/2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Here's a link to an article about the suit -

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2135007820081121

citizens enforcement suit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday November 21, 2008 10 a.m.


Air Pollution Suit Filed in Federal Court
Against Murphy Oil U.S.A., Inc.

Louisiana residents filed a citizens enforcement suit Friday in Federal District Court against Murphy Oil USA, Inc. alleging violations of the Clean Air Act at the Murphy Oil Meraux refinery. The violations include numerous incidents that released tons of sulfur dioxide and other harmful pollutants such as hydrogen sulfide and volatile organic compounds into the neighborhood's air.

Meraux, LA November 21, 2008 – Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, on behalf of Concerned Citizens Around Murphy (CCAM), filed a federal lawsuit Friday against Arkansas-based Murphy Oil USA, Inc. for violations of its air permit at its Meraux refinery.

This citizens enforcement suit is a last resort to a year-long attempt by the neighborhood association, CCAM, to obtain solutions to the refinery’s pollution and to preserve the residents' rights to clean air. CCAM seeks declaratory and injunctive relief that would provide continual compliance assurances, and civil penalties—paid to the U.S. Treasury— as high as $32,500 per day for each violation.

The Murphy Oil Meraux refinery allegedly violated the Clean Air Act over 130 times since October 2003 by releasing tons of sulfur dioxide and other harmful pollutants including hydrogen sulfide and volatile organic compounds in amounts that exceed their permit limits. The lawsuit identifies incidents where Murphy Oil released pollutants at a pound-per-hour rate exceeding its permit limits often by a factor of a hundred, a thousand, and even a million. On a few occasions, the Murphy Meraux refinery exceeded its annual tons-per-year permit limit in a single emission event. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality's public records note two of those plant malfunctions are still under investigation.

Residents believe these toxic releases adversely affect the community's health and safety. The concerned citizens seek declaratory and injunctive relief to force Murphy Oil to comply with their federal air permits and to deter future violations. The neighbors around Murphy's Meraux refinery view their enforcement action no differently than what other communities and homeowner associations do to protect their rights when a neighbor violates the law. CCAM member Suzanne Kneale explains, "What we have done is taken reasonable steps to assure the health and safety of our children. Murphy Oil left us no other course of action but to preserve our rights through the justice system."

Resident John Williams said, "The smells are so bad, we quit cooking outside. For a bar-b-que, we couldn’t even stay outside to enjoy it." John and his wife Kerry Williams have lived in the shadow of the Meraux refinery for nearly 22 years and fear the health effects of breathing their pollutants.

Other residents believe the refinery violated their rights by sending pollution across the fenceline. "Residents want the oil company to control their chemical discharges, noise and flaring within the limits of the law as they agreed to when they applied for air permits," stated Mike Sherwood, a life-long resident of St. Bernard Parish and a member of both the Meraux refinery's Citizens Advisory Panel and St. Bernard Parish's Murphy Oil Buffer Zone Committee.

Citing one of the recurring mishaps, such as broken compressors, Mike Miller asserts the vibrations from these malfunctions are felt inside his family's home and usually occur late at night. "I've called them several times before when the vibrations happen and they say, 'Everything is fine. We just blew a valve.' " Miller continues that "you go outside and the flames are blowing 60 feet in the air. I've also called DEQ several times. There hasn't been much change."

"It's difficult to raise our children here without the fear their development will be compromised or they will develop cancer one day from what Murphy puts out," Kneale added.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cypress Trees

Sign up for the December 4th Cypress Day of Action

Join Gulf Restoration Network, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper and others make a long-term commitment to Louisiana's forests.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What You Don’t Have Can’t Leak

Please see your nearby Louisiana facilities in a new report, released today,

“Chemical Security 101 –
What You Don’t Have Can’t Leak, or Be Blown Up by Terrorists”
by Paul Orum, Reece Rushing
Center for American Progress

www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/11/chemical_security.html

"This report outlines how using safer and more secure chemicals or processes can make the most dangerous chemical facilities less attractive targets for terrorists" {and one might add, safer for our neighborhoods and the plant workers}.

The article states, "Solutions applicable to the top 101 facilities could improve safety and security at many other high-hazard facilities, including an additional 202 listed in this report."

{Both major refineries in St Bernard Parish are listed in this report. Exxon is in the top 101 and Murphy is ranked among the 202 high-hazard listed. Our community's only high school is located in between these two refineries. With only two east-west corridors, school buses, workers and residents traveling in the Meraux area have no choice but to travel through Murphy Oil's tank farm or processing-terminal area.}


Paul Orum continues: "Most of the top 101 facilities could convert to safer and more secure chemicals or processes already being used by similar facilities that do not endanger large numbers of people. In particular:

* Eight petroleum refineries could remove danger to 11 million Americans by substituting toxic hydrofluoric acid, used in refining crude oil, with sulfuric acid or emerging solid acid catalysts. This includes the ExxonMobil Corp. refinery in Chalmette, La., which puts over 1 million people in danger. " {A similar solution is suggested for the Murphy Oil Meraux refinery.}

Check out
Interactive Map:
101 Most Dangerous Chemical Facilities Can Convert to Safer, More Secure Alternatives

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/11/chemical_security_map.html

And CAP's 2007 study Toxic Trains and the Terrorist Threat: How Water Utilities Can Get Chlorine Gas Off the Rails and Out of American Communities

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Regional Solid Waste Transfer Station

The proposed site selection for a regional waste transfer station is adjacent to the recreational marina on Bayou Bienvenue in St Bernard Parish. One acre of the proposed site selection is potential wetlands.
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Sign the petition. Tell the council to VOTE NO to Summary 2264 and Summary 2229
.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/No_Waste_Transfer_Station/
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Public Hearing Tuesday November 18, 2008 11AM
.
Any interested person shall have the right to comment verbally or in writing at the public hearing. Written comments will be accepted and entered into the public hearing record for five (5) working days after the hearing.
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Roxane Adams, Council Clerk
radams@sbpg.net
Wayne Landry, Council Chairman
wlandry@sbpg.net

Industrial Canal Project

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock Replacement Project

The Corps of Engineers is planning to dump TOXIC sediment removed from this project in ST. BERNARD PARISH just north of BAYOU BIENVENUE.

The meeting is at Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School at 1617 Caffin Avenue at 7PM-9PM. There is an open house from 6-7PM. Comments on the Notice of Intent to deposit fill material pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act are due by November 12, 2008. Comments on the SEIS are due November 25, 2008.

The draft SEIS and appendices are available at the St Bernard Parish Library, 7701 Judge Perez Dr, Arabi, LA or at

http://www.nolaenvironmental.gov/nola_public_data/projects/usace_levee/docs/original/IHNCLock_Draft_IHNC_Lock_SEIS.pdf

http://www.nolaenvironmental.gov/IHNCLock.aspx

Comments On the draft SEIS are due by Nov. 25, 2008
mail to
US Army Corps of Engineers (PM-RP)
c/o Richard Boe P O Box 60267
New Orleans, LA 70160-0267
E-mail: ihnclockreplacement@usace.army.mil

http://www.nolaenvironmental.gov/caldetails.aspx?id=1634

Industrial Canal lock price tag nowestimated at $1.3 billionby Mark Schleifstein, The Times-PicayuneWednesday October 15, 2008, 9:35 PM

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/10/industrial_canal_lock_price_ta.html

Friday, October 24, 2008

MRGO Ecosystem Restoration

PUBLIC NOTICES
Public Scoping Meetings Monday November 3, 2008

MRGO Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hosting public scoping meetings to gather public input on the MRGO Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study.

The Corps is conducting a study that will result in a comprehensive ecosystem restoration plan aimed at restoring and maintaining habitat areas affected by the MRGO navigation channel.
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Please join members of the Corps' study team to learn more about the study, the issues associated with the restoration activities, and the possible solutions under consideration to address these issues.

Meeting Agenda

Open House 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Introductions 7:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
Small Break-out Groups 7:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.
Group Reports 8:15 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.
Wrap-up 8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Chalmette, LA-
Monday, November 3, 2008
C.F. Rowley School 49 Madison Avenue Chalmette, LA 70043


Waveland, MS-
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Leo Seal Community Center 529 Highway 90
Waveland, MS 39576

Written comments may also be submitted through November 20, 2008 to:

e-mail:
MRGO reply@usace.army.mil

Web site:
http://mrgo.usace.army.mil

Mail:
MRGO Ecosystem Restoration EIS Manager, CEMVN-PM-RS
P.O. Box 60267, New Orleans, LA 70160-0267

Overnight:
MRGO Ecosystem Restoration EIS Manager, CEMVN-PM-RS
7400 Leake Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118-3651

Published in The St Bernard Voice Friday Oct 24, 2008 (scan copy)

Corps to rebuild wetlands

The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $66.4 million to rebuild wetlands along the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet and in Lake Borgne and also armor part of the lake's shoreline.

Corps to rebuild wetlands as part of MR-GO closure
by Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune Thursday October 23, 2008, 10:12 PM

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/10/corps_to_rebuild_wetlands_as_p.html

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Waste Transfer Station Permit Hearing

Public Hearing for SDT Permit Application

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE The St Bernard Voice October 17, 2008

"Public Hearing For Waste Storage, Treatment, Transfer Or Disposal Facility"
The St. Bernard Parish Council is hereby notifying the citizens of St. Bernard Parish that a public hearing will be held on the 18th day of November, 2008 at 11 :00 a.m. at the St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers located at 8201 Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, Louisiana 70043.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather facts, opinions and other input regarding the permit application or renewal thereof.

The following items will be available for viewing and discussion at the public hearing:
1). Copies of the application and all attachments will be made available to the public at the office of the St. Bernard Council Building at least thirty (30) days prior to the hearing.

Any interested person shall have the right to comment verbally or in writing at the public hearing. Written comments will be accepted and entered into the public hearing record for five (5) working days after the hearing. Accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and non-English speaking persons provided those persons request said accommodation 3 days prior to the public hearing.

St. Bernard Parish Government is an equal opportunity employer.
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Citizens unable to attend this hearing may submit their views, proposals and comments in writing to: Mr. Wayne J. Landry, Council Chair St. Bernard Parish Council 8201 W. Judge Perez Drive Chalmette, LA 70043

October 17, 24.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Have Katrina's lessons been learned or have mistakes been repeated?

In 2005, "Katrina demonstrated that hurricanes and refineries are not a good mix" {1} and building refineries and tank farms close to established subdivisions is poor planning. With the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP http://www.loopllc.com/f1.cfm?n=1 ) and the use of pipelines, the tank farms could be relocated and refinery expansions could occur outside these vulnerable zones.

Yet, as early as September 2005 Murphy Oil Meraux refinery continued to meet with LDEQ for its tank farm expansion plans in the flood plain closer to the MRGO, and in 2006 the local council sent the Army COE a letter of no objection for this project.

Concerned Citizens opposed to the tank farm expansion have requested soil subsidence mitigation, berm improvements and anchoring of tanks to prevent another catastrophic event.

Have Katrina's lessons been learned or have the mistakes been repeated?

{1} Another interesting article by CAIN BURDEAU :

Are Houston's petrochemicals safe from hurricanes?

Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated PressOct. 6, 2008, 11:28AM
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6042506.html

Sunday, October 5, 2008

another lesson learned

AP Investigation: Ike environmental toll apparent
10/5/2008, 9:01 a.m. CDT

By DINA CAPPIELLO, FRANK BASS and CAIN BURDEAU
The Associated Press

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/05/AR2008100500602.html

Ike was not the first storm to illustrate the need for a commitment of more responsible operations from heavy industry located along the Gulf Coast: a commitment to implement available technology to reduce toxic releases from planned shutdown and startup modes and a commitment to prevent tank farm spills from the known risks.

The article reports "... by far, the most common contaminant left in Ike's wake was crude oil "..."About half the crude oil was reported spilled at a facility..." where "...surge from the storm flooded the plant, leveling its dirt containment wall and snapping off the pipes connecting its eight storage tanks".

""Air contaminants were the second-most common release, mostly from the chemical plants and refineries along the coast."

From both Hurricanes Gustave and Ike in our Chalmette, Louisiana neighborhoods, residents were subjected to excessive shutdown/startup emissions from the storm preparedness plans of both neighboring refineries EXXON dba Chalmette Refinery, LLC and Murphy Oil Meraux refinery. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality had secured the community's air monitors in preparation of both storms and the air quality readings didnot resume until sometime after Ike. Residents believe the air monitoring would have shown high toxic readings during these shutdown/startup incidents; excess emissions that could be reduced with available technology.

In the Hurricane Katrina, the Murphy Oil tank lifted and the berm or secondary containment dike failed. The foundations of more than one tank had settled over time and even before 2005 the tank farm had soil and ground water concerns due to previous releases.

With the replacement of the and the further north into the flood plain closest to the MRGO , we requested improvements not only with controls and monitors for emissions and releases but also for soil subsidence mitigation, berm improvements and anchoring of tanks to prevent another catastrophic chemical spill.

We believe these are given the known risks. Residents who have returned to restore their lives and revitalize their community are still dealing with the consequences of the oil spill. Heavy industry(s) that have returned to do business are expected to rebuild safer and smarter and to operate on a more responsible level.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Citizens Meetings

Murphy Oil Citizens Advisory Panel (CAP)

Residents interested in serving on this citizens advisory panel would meet once a month with other community members and refinery officials.

Murphy Oil Buffer Zone Committee

All residents are encouraged to attend the Murphy Oil Buffer Zone Committee meeting Thursday August 28th at 5pm in the Council Office Trailer.

For more information on either group contact msherwood5@cox.net

HELP PLAN THE LIBRARY

6G THE TIMES PICAYUNE
THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 2008
COMMUNITY REPORT by Kim Gritter

HELP PLAN THE LIBRARY

The St. Bernard Parish Li­brary received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Founda­tion's Gulf Coast Libraries Pro­ject to help the Library Board bring back the public library as a stand-alone institution in the parish.

The Library Board of Control invites residents to visit with Ar­chitect Maureen Arndt to contrib­ute their vision and desires for the proposed new public library on Judy and Bartolo Drives in Meraux.

Arndt will be at the library's temporary location, 7701 W. Judge Perez Drive, Arabi, Aug. 21 from 2 to 6 p.m. to hear resi­dent's ideas. Arndt will present the potential options to the Li­brary Board at 6 p.m.

Suggestions also can be made in person to library staff or by email at library1125@yahoo.com

For more information, call the library at 504.279.0448

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Town Hall Meeting On Hospital!

ALL ST. BERNARD RESIDENTS

You are invited to attend a TOWN HALL MEETING concerning HOSPITAL provided health care in St. Bernard.

WHEN: Mon., Aug. 18, 7 p.m.

WHERE: 7724 E. St. Bernard Hwy., Violet(Lighthouse Pentecostal Church)

Scheduled to speak are the Hospital Service District Board and our Parish Government representatives. Learn about current issues and future plans for our Hospital.

Sponsored by Eastern St Bernard Citizens

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Its not about aesthetics or property value, its the lowering of safety and increasing the risks at the same time

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Murphy Oil Meraux refinery is applying for state sales tax incentives through the Louisiana Enterprise Zone program. According to our reporting resident, Murphy's representative stated at the St Bernard Parish Economic Development Committee's July meeting that its application is to perform maintenance and upgrades within the fence line of the facility. By applying through the state it affords them the reimbursement of state tax dollars for materials purchased for the $60 million project labor excluded.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Summary No. 2174

Recommended for introduction by: EFC on 6/ 0/08
Introduced by: Council on 6/17/08
EFC recommended APPROVAL on 7/9/08

An ordinance to ordain Administration not to entertain any zoning changes in the Murphy Oil buffer zone/green space until a MasterPlan is presented by Murphy Oil USA.

WE Petition St Bernard Parish Council for no more zoning changes regardless of whatever plans the refinery may or maynot say they have. Refinery encroachment into our neighborhood not only lowers the buffer, but it places the next fire and explosion that much closer to our homes.

A true protective green zone buffer is supported by the Parish Master Landuse Plan recommended by the CRC , adopted by the Council and used in previous landuse decisions. Most residents are adamantly opposed to this concept of and disagree that a petrochemical refinery's facilities would serve as a buffer for their protection or benefit.
A recent letter to the editor explains how and yet We are also for our neighborhoods.

Given the information from the , the parish's proposed and the ordinance on in Summary No 2174, perhaps our parish council will show support for our neighborhoods too.

We have a for our homes and our neighborhoods since early Fall 2005 and presented these plans to the full council at an EFC Meeting. Regardless of whatever plans the refinery may or maynot say they have, we are committed to our revitalized neighborhood.

We petition the council to amend Summary No 2174 for no more zoning changes, to support our homes and our residential neighborhoods, our residential streets and to preserve our protective greenspace.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

we have no plans for the residential properties acquired after Katrina

Posted by ( StBernard4ever ) on July 5, 2008 at 9:03 a.m.

Even after the worse residential crude oil spill in America, Murphy Oil USA, Inc is expanding their tank farm without changing the foundation or berm designs; not even anchoring so the tanks dont lift in the next flood. The expansion is on what seems to be lower land that is closer to the MRGO (the Mississippi River GulfCoast Outlet that is considered the hurricane floodwaters alley). Most of the homesites were cleaned by Murphy and placed back into residential use. Properties on the four streets west of the refinery were given an option to participate in the Murphy buyout program. Although Murphy had stated in Federal court that the property would be used for a green zone buffer, the refinery already has plans for expansion into this established, revitalized neighborhood, starting with a petrochemical testing lab.



Author: recovery citizenDate: 3/8/2008 5:00 pm
--> -->
Should we trust this corporation when they state to the LDEQ that they have no intentions of using the residential properties aquired in the federal court ordered settlement? When their own attorneys state in federal court and in council meetings that the intention is for a grassy buffer area? That they will plant grass eventually on the remediated lots adjacent to domiciled residents on the four streets west of the refinery? Should we trust that they will not apply again for more processing units and perhaps a coker? Should we trust that our library land and our firestations (purchased with our tax dollars, dedicated to constructing a library and firestations by vote of the people) will not be used as a political gift for the entire refinery expansion plan? A plan that the powers that be have decided to sacrifice one of our revitalized neighborhoods for?

We will measure trust by how this international corporation abides by our local codes and ordinanaces and by the state regulations and statutes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

first buffer zone committee meeting

more than just fillin' up
A St Bernard Parish Planning Commissioner Chairman, whose business has contracts with the Meraux refinery, commented at the first Buffer Zone Committee meeting about the new administration's fillin' lots relocation programs to reduce the parishes footprint of redevelopment and how our neighborhood would have to face it: we would be treated as if this were a natural disaster and be part of this relocation program.

Residents in higher flood risk areas that also have a low return of residents would be offered fillin' lots as relocation to another area with lower flood risk and higher return. Fillin' lots are the LLT or LRA ( Louisiana Land Trust    and Louisiana Road Home Authority ) residential properties sold to the state through Federal Grant programs after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. LLT properties will be offered for sale first through the Lot Next Door Program {  SBPG LND Program . } before being placed on the open market. Fillin' lots will be given consideration for this trade to relocate within the parish in an effort to fill in areas of higher return and rebuild.

As our Council and Administration trade our neighborhood, it helps make room for what most likely will be an ambitious Murphy Oil Meraux refinery expansion presumably to include a application and upgrades to comply with the anticipated
New EPA Rules for Gasoline Limit Benzene, a Carcinogen .

Our only high school is now 14 blocks west of the Meraux refinery. If this expansion results in the same emission exceedances of the clean air act as the clean fuels project allegedly has, will most of of our high school students and neighborhood children have petroleum coker dust filling their lungs?

Given the historic past of this refinery, what type of future are we willing to trade for?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Keep Safety in Our Footsteps

We need to keep safety in our footsteps of rebuilding.

Last week's RDC meeting with the firechief revealed not only the lower number of firefighters in our local department and at both the major refineries, but also the lower number who actually reside in our parish. So to respond to a major accident at a heavily industrialized business we will have to call in backup from neighboring parishes.

What are we doing with pending expansions to keep safety a priority?

As the council and administration consider a Refinery Expansion at Cost of Our Neighborhood , they are presumably making room for an ambiguous expansion that will have an irreversible effect on us all.

Our community's only high school is 14 blocks from this refinery. Both middle schools are to the east. To travel east or to come up west, you have no choice but to drive thru the or the terminal and processing area.

We know the historic past of this refinery.

What are we doing other than false promises and ambiguous word games, to assure a safer, more responsible future?

As our government leaders help us press for the entire refinery expansion plans, we ask them to please keep our safety in mind.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

irresponsible planning

As St Bernard Parish Planning Commissioners begin discussions of changing
our code of ordinances they are considering what would be a new concept for
St Bernard Parish : a required "buffer zone" around heavy industry.
There are discussions towards defining this "buffer zone" landusage as a
commercial district and not a true protective greenspace. This would be out
of the norm. Other heavily industrialized parishes require any where from
600 feet to 2,500 feet of a nonutilized landscaped greenbelt to protect
their residents from the known risks of explosions and fires.

Most residents are adamantly opposed to this concept of commercial usage of
the buyout properties and disagree that a petrochemical refinery's
facilities would serve as a buffer for their protection or benefit.

We have the opportunity to create and to preserve a true protective green
zone belt on the most hazardous side of the Meraux refinery. To allow
anything else in not only bad planning, it is irresponsible and makes the
parish further liable. 


http://six.pairlist.net/pipermail/stbernard/20080710/018470.html

Thursday, July 10, 2008

define Murphy Oil Buffer Zone

As St Bernard Parish Planning Commissioners begin discussions of changing our code of ordinances they are considering what would be a new concept for St Bernard Parish : a required "buffer zone" around heavy industry. There are discussions towards defining this "buffer zone" landusage as a commercial district and not a true protective greenspace.

This would not only break our settlement agreement, it would bring hazards closer to our homes instead of providing protection. A true protective green zone buffer is supported by the Parish Master Landuse Plan recommended by the  CRC , adopted by the Council and used in previous landuse decisions. Most residents are adamantly opposed to this concept of commercial usage of the buyout properties and disagree that a petrochemical refinery's facilities would serve as a buffer for their protection or benefit.

Other heavily industrialized parishes in this river region require any where from 600 feet to 2,500 feet of a non utilized landscaped greenbelt to protect their residents from the known risks of explosions and fires.

We have the opportunity to create and to preserve a true protective green zone belt on the most hazardous side of the Meraux refinery. To allow anything else in not only bad planning, it is irresponsible and makes the parish further liable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Refineries in Wetlands

excerpt fromTHE SCHOOL OF BIG STORMS
The High Cost of Compromising Our Natural Defenses and the Benefits of Protecting Them
Refineries in Wetlands (page6/7)
The Gulf Restoration Network (GRN)
The Sierra Club


"The lesson from this case is that industrial developments
need to have good hurricane response
plans that involve getting the plant properly
secured and shut down. Furthermore, building
refineries in wetlands close to a residential area in a
hurricane zone is not good planning
. We must
consider future consequences when siting new
businesses. As communities rebuild, we need to
make good social and economic decisions to
ensure both prosperity and safety."



With the replacement of tankage at the Murphy Oil Meraux refinery Judge Perez tankfarm, so too should be the implementation of foundation and berm design improvements. Just think how different District C may have been if the tanks' foundations had not settled over time, the berm (or burm) had not failed or if the tank had not lifted. Shouldnt we now have better designed berms and tank foundations with anchoring?

Big Oil -- Little Neighborhood

BIG OIL

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Public Participation

Active citizen participation in our community has never been more engaged and is truly an accomplishment to consider this Fourth of July Holiday.

From RDC 's community clean ups and RDC Beautification Projects to the EPA C A R E forums , residents now more than ever want to affect the ever-changing decisions in our community.

We have inspired each other and the results are amazing. Newly formed associations are making a difference throughout all districts, such as Eastern St Bernard Citizens . Residents from all walks of life are making a commitment to the future of our parish as seen in the emerging advocacy groups in District A and District B.

Recent strides include action on a proposed and the . Both developments were curtailed because engaged citizens volunteered their time and effort to place the health, safety and welfare of our family oriented neighborhoods above all other offered gains.


As Neighbors and Neighborhoods states: residents will come together to collectively support each other, to encourage, promote and facilitate community involvement and to work with local government and industry to achieve maximum growth with the re-development of safe, organized and productive neighborhoods as the primary goals.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Overall Air Quality Concerns - Asbestos

for the future of our community and for the safety and health of our children, all our residents, and the many workers in our area, we resolved to take action on the Clean Air Act violations in our community.

EPA's recent efforts to conserve landfill space explored disaster debris volume reduction with an experimental asbestos grind and burn at our Paris Road landfill. Asbestos containing debris scheduled to be incinerated with an Air Curtain Destructor pilot test was canceled because of citizens concerns for public health. The EPA curtailed their plans and chose only to test burn and grind non RACM containing C & D debris along with vegetative matter, as explained in the EPA 's pilot tests comments .

At prior council meetings, St Bernard Parish officials traded a temporary burn permit to the EPA for a renewal of a no action assurance from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The no action assurance was a renewal of permission to demo without asbestos abatement. The RACM houses however are to be 'burrito wrapped' and hauled to the River Birch Landfill on the Westbank of Jefferson Parish.


Residents first became aware of the incinerator project by attending EFC meetings; the Executive Finance Meetings where St Bernard Parish Councilmembers customarily discuss business matters and ordinances before voting to bring such items before the full council. However, the agendas for both the EFC and the Council Meetings never contained verbiage of asbestos. While residents may sign up to speak for two (2) minutes at a council meeting, the ability to comment was difficult given the lack of information prior to the council's February 7, 2008 vote. Through public records requests, CCAM received the information about two weeks later.

Several active CCAM members whose work and lifestyle brings them in and around the landfill area spoke up to the EPA about their concerns for public health through these prior council meetings and the subsequent EPA community outreach meetings in June. The EPA June meetings were held in response to residents claims that there had been no adequate public notice given even by local standards.

St Bernard residents who attended two community outreach meetings with EPA officials in June reported the agency's response to our questions.

Q: HOW are they going to know that the one home for C&D burn experiment is NON Asbestos containing?

answer. "the answer they gave us...They chose 1 house out of 12,000. It has been tested by EPA and the results were compared to other tests made by another company, and the parish demolition company. They said the asbestos was minimal and not harmful. It is in the joints of the house."

Q: This resident asked about the large variety of everyday items in a typical house that would never reduce its size even in the temperatures of the ACD. Examples given were the electrical outlets, ceramic fixtures and hardware and other such auxiliary goods. Questions were also raised about the lead paint, plastic and mercury contents of a typical house.

CCAM wants to recognize the improvements to our quality of life and protection of our public health achieved by a number of residents and workers who made a commitment to our community by taking action on Clean Air Violations.

CCAM is also very appreciative of the expertise and stealth field work by Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, especially Lacy Smith, student attorney at TELC and Jim Hecker, a lawyer with Public Justice in Washington, D.C.

Recent articles about this asbestos experiment can be read at

EPA to burn houses with asbestos During test run, air will be monitored Saturday, February 09, 2008 By Paul Rioux
http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1202538125169240.xml&coll=1

EPA DELAYS CONTENTIOUS ASBESTOS DEMOLITION PLAN OVER RISK ERRORS
by: Anthony Lacey INSIDEEPA-29-26-13 http://www.insideepa.com/

Daily Environment Report - EPA Cancels Project to Grind, IncinerateNo. 117 Wednesday, June 18, 2008Page A-5 ISSN 1521-9402 http://www.bna.com/products/ens/bder.htm


Read more about EPA's Disaster Debris Reduction Project - St Bernard Parish Louisiana
http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/debris_reduction.htm

Air Burners LLC http://airburners.com/?gclid=CNmI2ZmQl5QCFQuXGgodUH3_tw

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Expanding Tank Farm in Flood Plain

Its time the US EPA change the regulations and requirements for refinery and chemical storage tanks that are allowed in flood plains. Our own experience with the crude oil spill in Chalmette, Louisiana and the crude oil spill in Coffeyville, Kansas bring several issues to light.

Murphy Oil Meraux Refinery and the Coffeyville Resources Refinery are both in a 100 year flood plain. Even if the Murphy Meraux Refinery was in compliance with federal regulations, they did NOT implement their hurricane preparedness plans. The Federal Regulations are not adequate. The tanks have been allowed too close to residential neighborhoods. Flood plains will flood and at times it will be catastrophic; and this flooding will happen whether the EPA anti-spill plan requires facilities to prevent inundation from catastrophic flooding or not.

Murphy's expansion plans include extending the tank farm north towards the flood plain that was effected most by the MRGO Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal . It is most irresponsible for EPA, LDEQ and the refinery to expand the tank farm in this flood zone. The results are a given. It is reckless of the refinery to expand the tank farm, knowing the results. Yet, it is not a surprise that they justify their irresponsibility by claiming they are at least in compliance.


Note: The spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) regulations compliance deadline has been extended again to July 1, 2009. Thats two more hurricane seasons.
http://www.eqm.com/news.html

MRGO http://www.louisianasportsman.com/stories/2003/paradise-lost/future-of-mrgo.htm

Friday, May 16, 2008

Commitment to Greenspace or Political Gift to Murphy Oil

In keeping with the mission of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, we look for the LRA's support of "community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana."

The Louisiana Recovery Authority should designate certain LRA properties in St Bernard Parish as permanent greenspace and not transfer ownership to the Murphy Oil Meraux Refinery. We have valid concerns that any transfers of these LRA properties to the refinery would not only constitute a gift to the refinery but would also compromise the integrity of our residential neighborhood, the intent of the Citizen's Recovery Committee - St Bernard Parish Planning Commission's proposed greenspace around the refinery, and the federal court ordered "intended" buffer zone (from the crude oil spill class action law suit).

Our neighborhood in St Bernard Parish like so many others in our great State of Louisiana has a unique character and personality of its own; one which could be entirely and drastically changed with redevelopment decisions. Nestled between East St Bernard Highway and East Judge Perez Drive, Jacob, Despaux, Ventura and Lena Drives in Chalmette, LA comprise the James Place, Despaux and Ventura, Flora Estates and Sandra Park subdivisions. Here, like elsewhere in St Bernard Parish, residents rebuilt their homes and revitalized their community despite the devastating losses of 2005 : Hurricane Katrina and the Murphy Crude Oil Spill. Other homeowners participated in the voluntary buyout portion of the crude oil spill's class action lawsuit and a few have already sold their homesites through the LRA Grant program. These are the properties which should be designated greenspace, if they are not offered to adjoining homeowners first or to other future residential uses.

In June of 2007, we became aware of the refinery's plans to use these four streets for expansion; starting in particular with a land swap / sale of our Jacob Drive Firestation (http://sbpg.net/councilagenda7-10-07.pdf item #26 SBPC Agenda). From what little we know of the plans include moving facilities, such as a warehouse, maintenance building, laboratory and the like, into the subdivision to allow processing unit expansion on the refinery's current campus. Some of these facilities are currently out of compliance with the new OSHA explosion cone regulations. Some of the new processing expansions may include a coker unit.

"LRA properties" on these four streets, if not offered to adjoining residents first or to other future residential uses, should be permanently designated greenspace or conservation easements and not be gifted, transferred, sold nor made available in any manner to the refinery for expansion or for any other use. Effecting our community's resurgence and not thwarting our renaissance, the government should never push the homeowners towards the refinery expansion acquisitions and should instead preserve the integrity of the existing residential zoning. The government's active participation in the refinery's expansion acquisitions not only is unethical but would only permeate and pervade the decades long encroachment of this heavy industry into the neighborhood. That action would literally move the refinery fenceline west onto the next four streets of the subdivision leaving little or no greenspace protection.

We petition the Louisiana Recovery Authority and the St Bernard Parish Housing, Redevelopment and Quality of Life Commission to consider first offering the residential properties to adjoining residents or other perspective homeowners. If not, they should designate "LRA" properties in these four street areas as permanent greenspace and not to transfer ownership to the Murphy Refinery.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Letter: Larger refinery would pose hazards
The Daily TelegramPublished Saturday, April 26, 2008


... unless I knew that those increased bouts of flu, bronchitis, headaches and birth defects in my neighbors, relatives and children were caused from toxins in the soil, air and water given off by Murphy Oil. Toxins such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, mercury and lead are known causes of these “minor” side effects that, when present in even tiny amounts (the EPA has a regulation of .053 parts per million for Nitrous Oxides), can cause miscarriages, blindness and death and are known waste products of Murphy Oil in Superior.

http://www.superiortelegram.com/articles/index.cfm?id=27602

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Murphy Oil Corp.: Massive Capital ReinvestmentMassive profits spur equally massive facilities projects for Arkansas-based petroleum producer/refiner.
By Brad Kenney
Feb. 7, 2008 --http://www.industryweek.com/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=15740

{{ Murphy's plans show that the company is looking to bulk up refining capacity along both the Gulf Coast and the North Coast (in Wisconsin) as well, and in doing so is attempting to refashion its Superior, Wis.-based refinery into what refinery manager Dave Podratz calls one of "the cleanest, most efficient refineries in the world." }}

What we want in St Bernard Parish is the entire refinery expansion plan and for the Meraux Refinery and terminal to also be the cleanest, most efficient refinery. We dont want our neighborhood subjected to their poor trackrecord of environmental and performance standards compliance.

Murphy can certainly afford to upgrade the refinery in St Bernard Parish, reveal the entire refinery expansion plan and make the Meraux Refinery at least complaint with environmental regulations and local codes and ordinances. With over 7,000 corporate wide employees, the meager 300 fulltime employees at Meraux doesnot equal the type of permanent jobs this area would want .

Saturday, April 26, 2008



TAKE ACTION

Make a Difference
Join levees.org and put a sign up in your yard.

Every signature on their petition and every members name on the membership list makes a difference.

Levees.org has grown to a nationally recognized group with support of many highly visible supporters in business and government.

Take a minute or two and go to the web site and read up.

Do you see anyone else pressuring the COE? www.levees.org




4 Investigates: Floodwalls stuffed with newspaper?
11:54 PM CDT on Thursday, April 24, 2008
Lee Zurik / WWL-TV News Anchor


http://www.wwltv.com/local/stories/wwl042408tpleveepaper.98095b74.html

http://tinyurl.com/52fuvt




Corps explains newspaper's use in floodwall
Joints are sealed outside, officials say
Saturday, April 26, 2008
By Chris Kirkham

http://www.nola.com/timespic/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-28/1209187810171060.xml&coll=1

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


It is just amazing that the very neighborhood and firestation that didnot have any oil is now suddenly the exact property NEEDED for this expansion. Other .

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Earth Day 2008 APRIL 22nd

Join us to save our neighborhood on April 22nd 4pm at the Planning Commission Public Hearing for MOMR

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The green, green grass of our homes

Showdown: St. Bernard Parish President - Oct. 29,2007
Junior Rodriquez and Craig Taffaro

WDSU – http://www.wdsu.com/video/144448474/index.html

"There seems to be a name game being played between St. Bernard government, Murphy Oil and residents adjacent to the refinery.
At times the residential property bought by Murphy is referred to as "green space" and at other times it’s referred to as a "buffer Zone".
Green space implies trees, shrubs and flowers while buffer zone implies a space to restrict something unwanted. Which is it that you will work toward."
Mike

Jr. - Green space only. Council has the power and ability to pass an ordinance that that’s what it will be is green space. That’s what we need.
CT – Properties that are being bought out in the buyout zone are zoned R1 which means that there can be nothing but R1 development in that area. Murphy Oil has continued to tell us and the public they’re not getting into the housing market at all, so the idea of what that property can be used for is nothing more than what it is now and since it is not a 100% buyout at this point in time, there will be no other development there so it will be green space. Buffer zone means that that’s what that green space will be used for.
```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
"I live on Lena Drive and would like to know about the 4 block area that Murphy Oil destroyed. What are you going to do about t he sidewalks that were pulled up and the streets that were destroyed. Don’t beat around the bush. Give us a straight answer."
John

Jr. – Should be repaired because Murphy Oil caused the problem and situation. Murphy Oil will repair sidewalks. That’s part of public demand.
CT – Where there are houses, there will be sidewalks. Where there are complete blocks that have been purchased and will be used as that green space in the buffer zone, those sidewalks needed to be removed for the maintenance of that property. But what we’re talking about is where there are residents still living between houses there will be sidewalks there. That’s not an issue. Murphy is giving us some resistance on that, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Where there are residents there will be sidewalks.
````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

From meeting audio tape ; quote of Murphy defense lawyer on December 7, 2007 Housing, Redevelopment and Quality of Life commission where Murphy proposes to recieve direct transfer of LRA properties in our neighborhood...."Murphy is ...offered to buy that property from the LRA ... to be used as a buffer zone. It is not going to be used for refining or operating purposes in anyway shape or form.....everything is going to be removed all the way down to the slab. It will be graded, filled and then eventually a grassy area. And its all going to be property that's going to be the buffer zone."

Friday, April 11, 2008

storm water issues

The spill (redux)


by Max37, 04/11/08 9:06 AM

Re: There are by withabeard, 04/11/08 9:06 AM

With warm regards and due respect, Mr. Beard:

Topic #1

Is it not true that Murphy had no oil spills go off refinery property BEFORE Katrina?

Is it not true that Murphy had no oil spills go off refinery property since they started back up AFTER Katrina?

I'll concede that their not filling the tank contributed to the spill if you'll concede that Katrina caused the spill.

Topic #2

Murphy cleaned up their spill. Who cleaned up all of the other spills in the area? Anyone?

-------------------------------------------------------------

#1 Murphy Oil had spill go off refinery property in July 2005 with a bypass of the wastewater into the neighborhood canal. Also, many serious problems with the tank farm noted in public record prior to Katrina.
http://edms.deq.louisiana.gov/app/doc/view.aspx?doc=5331752&ob=yes&child=yes

#2 Murphy has not cleaned up the spill. Murphy chose to scape six inches of land in only certain areas of the specific class action area. The class action area is hardly the entire contaminated area.

UPDATE:  Murphy Oil's own documents can't hold four inch rain 


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0brISkNUPw2RG9fN2VGSkFWbG8/view?usp=sharing
above link to June 2011 storm water study.  



Murphy Oil's June 2011 storm water study concludes the piping at outfall #15 does not provide adequate capacity for the peak flow rate resulting from a 25 year rain event. Further, recommendations include:

- increase capacity of the west ditch

-provide a means to retain storm water to prevent sheet flowing off property

- remove a significant portion of the drainage basin acreage to the "west ditch" by redirecting or impound storm water by additional ponds or tankage

-increase capacity retainage of storm water basin on north tank farm property and route a new culvert from the west ditch to these basins.

Ground water and soil contamination in neighborhood.
http://concernedcitizensaroundmurphy.blogspot.com/2010/10/murphy-oil-crude-oil-spill.html

Ground water and soil contamination in tank farm.
 http://edms.deq.louisiana.gov/app/doc/view.aspx?doc=8374292&ob=yes&child=yes

Refinery flooding neighborhood in 2009.
around the 4:14 minute mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w34l7_bpkFY

Refinery flooding in Isaac 2012.
http://www.nrc.uscg.mil/reports/rwservlet?standard_web+inc_seq=1022703


http://concernedcitizensaroundmurphy.blogspot.com/p/cloudy-with-chance-of-oil.html



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Posted on the RDC website:


The eagles have landed...........thanks to the watchful eye of Alvin Siener and the skill of photographer Chris Holmes the following pictures were taken earlier this week along the 40 arpent canal near Despaux Drive. According to Alvin, there were initially two eagles. When Chris arrived, only one remained.More.

This wooded area by Despaux and Jacob Drives and the 40 arpent is a natural wetlands area of to St Bernard Parish and to the Battle of New Orleans.

It is also the proposed site of an ambitious tank farm expansion. We need our council representatives to preserve and protect our district for future generations.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Villere Plantation: Home of Louisiana's 2nd Governor (First Native Governor and First Creole Governor) Occupied by British Forces Gen Pakenham in 1814 Historic Trees along the Panel Ditch and linear canal and Historic Brick Structure Ruins in the wetlands north of the 20 arpent canal. Site of the actual British Invasion route for the Battle of New Orleans .


Villere Plantation: Home of Louisiana's 2nd Governor (First Native Governor and First Creole Governor) Occupied by British Forces Gen Pakenham in 1814
The Villere Plantation home was located on the South Side of Judge Perez on the current Meraux refinery processing campus. It burned in the 1930's. In the community of Meraux, St Bernard Parish Louisiana between the 20 and 40 arpent canals, on the western border of Meraux, at Magistrate Street and Jacob Drive: Magistrate Street is the continuation of the natural waterway Panel Ditch. This was the actual British Invasion Route for the Battle of New Orleans. British General Pakenham's forces used the Panel Ditch and the linear (north - south) canal to the east of the Entergy utility pole easement to reach the Villere Plantation and the Mississippi River.
Historically significant and worth preserving the trail or invasion route and its historic trees run along the length of this linear canal from the rightofway along the 20 arpent to the rightofway along the 40 arpent. In the 19th century ditches like the Panel Ditch were used in St Bernard Parish to delineate areas which were more desirable for cultivating crops from those that were less desirable. This wetlands area below {or north} of the Panel Ditch and before the cypress swamp was used to cultivate rice, as these fields tended to stay flooded.
The historic brick structure is a drainage machine which would drain the more desirable fields for crops such as sugar cane and lumber.
Where Magistrate Street ends and one could enter the property, this was the Panel Ditch. Just to the East of the Entergy utility pole easement, there is an Historic brick structure and associated historic oak trees. The brick structure is the ruins of the drainage pump for the Villere Plantation.This drainage machine was used to drain the fields and the smaller linear ditches to the bigger canals. The canals were used to float cypress lumber down to the sawmills. The Villere Plantation had such a timber crop and a small saw mill. The plantation also had the cash crops of sugar cane and rice.
(Notes from St Bernard Parish Historian, Mr William Hyland)

Interesting Links to Villere's History
map of Villere, Lacoste, Chalmette, Jumoville Plantation property lines
http://www.galafilm.com/1812/e/events/orl_villere.htmlpicture of plantation home that was south of judge perez drhttp://louisdl.louislibraries.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/LSA&CISOPTR=1205&CISOBOX=1&REC=6
villere's bio (8 children)http://enlou.com/people/villerejp-bio.htm
page 40 of this book states the plantation was taken down for a sewage plant, Mr Hyland disputed this and stated the plantation burned in the 1930's on the Meraux refinery plant grounds South of Judge Perezhttp://books.google.com/books?id=folWLmrFXqwC&pg=PA40&lpg=PA40&dq=%22villere+plantation%22&source=web&ots=cM7oAI9BRf&sig=i120Bxq517Kyn4mdHN2cuSSNTUw
Notes from Mr. William Hyland St Berand Parish Historian
Our Neighborhood presented OUR VISION today at the St Bernard Parish

OUR VISION

A long range plan of our neighborhood’s revitalization—What we envision for our grandchildren and future generations and the keystone commitments of this council’s decisions to preserve our heritage, our natural resources and our residential neighborhoods for tomorrow.

In District C, we are the subdivisions nestled between our community's only high school,Val Reiss Park and the heavy industrialized refinery.
We need a balance. We don’t have the luxury of previous land-use planning. What we have is an opportunity to create a balance and to preserve that balance.

The Ohio Street area is within a school zone, yet our children have no sidewalks on these four streets (Jacob, Despaux, Ventura, and Lena). Furthermore, these are the very four streets some propose to add more industrial use and industrial traffic. That would not be the proper balance.

For the roughly 80 homesites on these four streets, we envision a domiciled next-door-neighbor purchase program to increase lot sizes giving us the opportunity of re-establishing our neighborhood feel. For those properties not offered for residential redevelopment, we would like them dedicated for neighborhood community greenspace, so the children have a place to play other than in the street. For other lots not offered for residential redevelopment, we would like a conservation easement entered on the land title to provide the commitment to a greenspace buffer from this most-hazardous processing side of the refinery.

We also envision lots more trees. We need more trees for air purification , soil detox and to provide a visual buffer as well as a noise buffer. Further, we need the installation of a noise-abatement wall. We also need Murphy Oil to comply with local performance standards and environmental regulations.

Floral Estates, north of the 20 Arpent is progressing and we need the same commitments for residential zoning. We also need for these four residential streets to remain "open access," with no zoning changes.

In the section of the oil spill where the land is cleared and remediated, we see an opportunity for a corporate and community sponsored commemorative and historic parkway, with walking paths and bird areas, with an abundance of trees to further purify the air, ground water and soil. We envision an added mature tree line as a visual buffer to the tank farms and we propose a commemorative sign ....not defining us by this oil spill disaster, but rather as a tribute to the spirit of the people of our parish and the ability of this industry, parish government and our people to come together and implement real solutions.

We have recently learned from our distinguished parish historian, Mr William Hyland, that the wooded area north of the 20 arpent is of national historic importance. is associated with the actual British Invasion Route in the Battle of New Orleans. Not only are there numerous historic trees similar to the Pakenham Oaks at the EXXON/Mobil refinery, but there are remains of a historic brick structure from the plantation. Mr Hyland could best elaborate on the significance of this land and how the historic tree line and structure could be placed on the National Historic Registry.

The council and residents can work with the industrial property owner to pursue a community benefits agreement, which should include a commitment to our environment, our heritage, our natural resources and our residential neighborhoods.

So, we ask the council and administration to:
§ preserve the integrity of our residential neighborhoods and residential streets,
§ amend the to designate greenspace,
§ commit to our residential district with no zoning changes,
§ enforce performance standards,
§ preserve the historic tree line and historic brick structure,
§ adhere to the master landuse plan of a greenspace non-utilized buffer and
§ take this opportunity to create the balance we need to protect our children from the hazards of this refinery

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Great post on the and how neighbors and neighborhoods will make the difference.

Also, Islenos' Fiesta Pics byHip
http://hippics.smugmug.com/

Friday, April 4, 2008



Friday April 4th Not good conditions for the coming heavy rains tonight.

Just another expample of Murphy's commitments beyond its fenceline.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Interesting article at Political Environment blog
with equally good links for anyone following the Murphy expansions in either city (Wisconsin or Louisiana)

http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2008/03/miwest-oil-refining-matter-of-national.html

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Two different cities and yet so much is the same.....

OPINION: Fully understand risks posed by Murphy Oil expansion
By MELISSA MALOTT, The Daily Telegram
Published Saturday, March 08, 2008

excerpts:

A bigger refinery poses the potential for a bigger catastrophic accident

We don’t know what Murphy will produce and emit into the air and water, nor what the facility would look like. It would be helpful if Murphy provided updates about the data and decisions they are contemplating, as the community and state would have to live with the consequences of this refinery. In the meantime, we have a responsibility to find out the potential risks of an oil refinery expansion, and be prepared with the tough questions about what this will mean for our state’s citizens and natural resources

http://www.superiortelegram.com/articles/index.cfm?id=26353&section=Opinion

The Political Environment:

No OSHA Inspections At Murphy Oil For A Decade Bef...


The Political Environment No OSHA Inspections At Murphy Oil For A Decade Before 2007? Not Comforting, As Expansion There Looms
Murphy Oil, USA - Meraux Refinery

http://www.scribd.com/doc/21693301/Murphy-Oil-Meraux-Refinery-Expansion-Project-Vol-1-33525655
" Refinery Expansion / Coker and Associated Facilities" Project - Changes to Fugitive ComponentsBased on information in meeting on September 6, 2005

LDEQ EDMS 33525655 page 312

" Refinery Expansion / Coker and Associated Facilities Project Description
October 17, 2005 Hand Delivered

LDEQ EDMS 33525655 page 10

http://edms.deq.louisiana.gov/app/doc/view.aspx?doc=33525655&child=yes

Can we trust their statement that they withdrew the coker request and there are no plans to permit one? Look at the dates of these documents: where were we while the refinery was meeting with LDEQ?

Should we trust this corporation when they state to the LDEQ that they have no intentions of using the residential properties aquired in the federal court ordered settlement? When their own attorneys state in federal court and council meetings transcripts that the intention is for a grassy buffer area? That they will plant grass eventually on the remediated lots adjacent to domiciled residents on the four streets west of the refinery? Should we trust that they will not apply again for more processing units and perhaps a coker? Should we trust that our library land and our firestations (purchased with our tax dollars, dedicated to constructing a library and firestations by vote of the people) will not be used as a political gift for the entire refinery expansion plan? A plan that the powers that be have decided to sacrifice one of our revitalized neighborhoods for?

We will measure trust by how this international corporation abides by our local codes and ordinanaces and by the state regulations and statutes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Refinery Expansion at Cost of Our Neighborhood

The Houston Chronicle article "OSHA uncovers slew of refinery violations" ( link below) might be the reasons why Murphy Oil Meraux Refinery will claim they NEED to move "facilities" into the ;onto Despaux and Jacob Drives, into our neighborhood. This encroachment will breech the crude oil spill settlement. We all know they are to our residential district, presumably to make room for an expansion of processing units on the existing refinery campus; possibly clearing way for a refinery revamp to comply with anticipated New EPA Rules for Gasoline Limit Benzene, a Carcinogen . The Meraux Terminal has already recieved modifications to its air permit to store ethanol, which will allow ethanol blending to be conducted at the Meraux Terminal.

Yet Murphy owns more land within the existing fenceline and could reconfigure its campus for safety without displacing those of us who have rebuilt our community postKatrina. The refinery doesnot NEED our homes for safety; they WANT it for expansion.

Presumably again, these life threatening "explosion cones" and high hazard zones are suddenly justifying a processing expansion at the sacrifice of our revitalized neighborhood. The refinery had no problem with these safety hazards until their complicitous land grab post Katrina. The refinery had no problem with these safety hazards when they added their Clean Fuels Process in the early 2000's, or in any of the many following fires and explosions.

The Murphy Citizens Advisory Panel resumes for the first time since Katrina its meetings this week. We need the community emergency response committee to resume, too. Both of these partnerships of industry and government need to be open to the residents, open to the public. Hopefully the refinery makes public its total expansion plans, its general chemical emergency preparedness and prevention provisions, and how this will affect our local fire and emergency protection levels. As citizens we have the right to know.
http://www.epa.gov/epahome/r2k.htm
Civil Enforcement and Chemical Accident Prevention Enforcement
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/caa/gdcenf.html

Quoting from the Houston Chronicle article below:
""In OSHA lingo, a willful violation is among the worst. It involves an alleged blatant disregard of or indifference to an obvious safety hazard. ""
""OSHA has alleged that Frontier El Dorado Refining Co. had committed one "willful violation" by locating a permanently occupied structure in a high hazard zone among refinery processing units""
http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2008_4528403



Let's hope our Parish Council has the wisdom and the fortitude to deny any zoning changes which moves any part of this refinery into our residential district . To do otherwise would not only lower the buffer and place the next explosion closer to our homes, but their disregard to our welfare , health and safety would make them liable.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The St. Bernard Recreation Corp. and St. Bernard Recreation Dept.

have set a date to host a 2nd Clean Our Ball Parks Day. The date is Saturday, March 8th at 8:00 a.m. Please meet at Patricia Park in Arabi. We plan to work on a few ball parks that day. Please bring lawn equipment (rakes, weedeaters, shovels, etc.) if possible. If not, equipment will be supplied. Refreshments will be served. If you are interested in participating, please feel free to send me an e-mail with your contact information. sscharfenstein32@yahoo.com.


The first Clean Up Day was held at Carolyn Park and was a great success. To see pictures and read the story about the first Clean Up Day, visit sbpg.net (http://sbpg.net/). We want to keep the momentum going so all parks are ready for baseball season which is right around the corner.

Thanks in advance for helping us rebuild our Ball Parks

Sunday, February 24, 2008

going beyond the requirements of law

Murphy Oil Meraux Refinery (MOMR) has submitted plans to build a laboratory beyond their fenceline on the corner of Jacob Drive and St Bernard Hwy (in the court ordered "intended" buffer zone" - on the property acquired post Hurricane Katrina - post crude oil spill).
""The intent of the buyout program is thus to create a buffer zone between the Murphy Oil refinery and the community and remove the most heavily contaminated properties from residential use."" page 29 http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/MurphyOil/Orders/O_1072.pdf

This move of facilities into our subdivision presumably makes room for more processing units on the existing refinery campus; possibly clearing way for a refinery revamp to comply with anticipated New EPA Rules for Gasoline Limit Benzene, a Carcinogen . Their previous Clean Fuels Project expansion ( for lower sulfur) has left thousands of pounds of sulfur and hundreds of pounds of hydrogen sulfide in our neighborhood from their . There are still issues that need to be addressed in their and replacement tanks with areas of concern preKatrina. ( )


Their complying with all environmental and local regulations codes and ordinances would protect our neighborhood from this .

It is expected that Murphy will apply for a zoning change public hearing sometime soon. Zoning changes typically are introduced as an ordinance in a Council Meeting (Next meeting March 4, 2008 7pm) and then 30 days later the Council takes final vote. Meanwhile the property owner apply's for a zoning change through the planning commission. The planning commission has it's own public hearing to decide on criteria of the zoning change. Answers to our public documents requests have indicated there are none at this time.

Even today, with both the remediated properties and the properties of this refinery/terminal and tank farms , we find MOMR noncompliant on the same issues previously cited. Their compliance would protect our welfare, safety and environment, improve our quality of life and preserve our neighboring homes from an encroachment which otherwise would only permeate and pervade a decades long struggle for domiciled residents' quality of life next to heavy industry. Read Comments to LDEQ Hearing regarding environmental compliance.

We seek the new administrations wisdom in decisions, and pray that their findings and action on will hold industry accountable to the same high standards; accountable to their domiciled neighbors, the people and the community of the Parish of San Bernardo.

Friday, February 22, 2008

positive contributions to the communities

To Welcome Murphy Oil Meraux Refinery (MOMR) to Residential District C, some volunteers planted trees to help remediate the oil spill properties and bring Murphy into compliance with the buffer zone landscaping ordinance . Our new neighbor's response was less than cordial as they strongly suggested the trees be removed in a way that they could be reused elsewhere. Or, so they say, Murphy will remove the trees themselves leaving little or no future use for the trees.

Other tree tales and donated tree projects have been unable to take root due to

While Rediscover District C and Concerned Citzens Around Murphy have continued to invite Murphy Meraux refinery to participate in our community cleanups and tree planting programs, they have yet to accept.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In their seemingly purposeful misseedings of residential lots, Murphy failed to properly fill and seed the lot next door to residents who are active members in our neighborhood group. These residents are now still subjected to the daily presence of transient workers and have not forgotten the sheriff reports and arrests of workers from these very crews who carried guns, trespassed and stole. These are the same crews who in April and May were stopping residents on their daily strolls through the neighborhood to urge them to sell their homes to MOMR and also to firmly tell them not to walk the neighborhood anymore explaining in both cases that the entire area would be a fenced off refinery.

Its been 2 1/2 years since Murphy Oil Meraux Refinery (MOMR)'s irresponsibility caused the worse residential crude oil spill in America and the remediation crews are still not finished. No one resident watching this escapade can recall the contaminated soil of the properties North of Judge Perez being excavated. And while these properties may have been "released for intended purposes" through LDEQ's unique new MO classification for RECAP levels before demolition, we question why no one resident witnessed the excavation. Soil from the few remaining structures north of Judge Perez have not be excavated. We question if it is possible that the soil was just covered over with the sand fill and not removed. Is this why they wont plant ? Because the depth of the tree planting would distrub contaminated areas of concern? LDEQ officials contacted this week requested specific addresses to followup our concerns (will keep you posted) . http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/portal/Default.aspx?tabid=2775


While the rest of St Bernard Parish is debating the new high grass fines http://sbpg.net/grass.html , this is the best explanation as to why the grass will grow on the north side and not the south. MOMR left the soil with its rooted grass on the north of Judge Perez. The south side soil was excavated and the crews left these lots unseeded through the winter. Remember, there was no oil South of Judge Perez, just this complicitous land grap for expansion.

The company refused to plant grass sodding as requested by the neighbors and have instead made ridiculous efforts to keep all the mud sediment runoff out the streets and storm drains and still there is mud everywhere. Murphy crews were working with shovels this week to remove the mud and will likely do the same with the coming rains this weekend.

Its quite comical to see the shovel brigade followed by a water pressure truck every time it rains. With all the weather in the last few weeks it has to be more expense to put up all these silt fences, bales of hay and straw, all the added man hours. Grass sodding such as St Augustine sodding for the first foot or two from the curb would have completed this project months ago; presumably leaving the crews no excuse to continue to harass the neighborhoods. Some lots were left since this Summer without proper fill levels and the company's subcontractor admittedly stopped seeding the lots with grass seeds due to the approaching winter . These residents want their new neighbor to feel welcomed in the district but expect them to control the mud and add landscaping. Perhaps we can help Murphy Oil Corporation make these positive contributions to the communities .

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