Wednesday, July 29, 2009

no noise zone

July 29, 2009


Mr. Wayne Landry
St. Bernard Parish Councilman-At-Large
8201 West Judge Perez Drive
Chalmette,  LA  70043


Dear Mr. Landry:


Thank you for hosting the July 22, 2009 meeting, which began discussions with Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery on a variety of issues that have an immediate and adverse impact on health, safety and quality of life.  Specifically, Murphy Oil identified known sources of past excessive noise levels and vibrations to our homes. 


We have an unfortunate zoning situation with heavy industry adjacent to residential neighborhoods. Despite its industrial zoning, excessive noise is out of place and unwelcome here.  No neighborhood should be subjected to such "typical refinery noises" yet these noises continue to disturb us at all times of the day and night.  Therefore, measures that are appropriate for normal industry practice are inadequate under these circumstances.  Murphy Oil must recognize the need to do more than other refineries that are properly buffered from residences. 


Throughout the recent past, residents have endured countless days of continuous ear-splitting noise levels or roaring noise that sounds like jet engines.  One noise source Murphy Oil identified was a steam atomizer on an over 140 foot-high flare.  Residents made numerous complaints to the refinery, yet, Murphy Oil did not repair this atomizer for a long time.  Now, Murphy Oil identified another noise source: the new low-NOx burners.  When the next excessive noise once again forces us to leave the area or become prisoners in our own homes, what plans will our local officials’ have in place?


These issues are serious and will not go away until the residents are truly protected with sustainable, long-term solutions. Residents must be protected to a higher standard than typical OSHA regulations, and it is our local officials’ duty to implement an enforceable compliance plan. Periodic meetings may help Murphy Oil continue to address their residential neighbors’ concerns.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lessons Learned from Storms Past






Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Hurricane Season....Is your canal ready?

Jacob Canal culvert at Judge Perez is blocked from litter, sediment and debris from the refinery's makeshift parking lot. The overgrowth is unacceptable. According to Parish Public Works, Murphy Oil has been responsible to maintain the canal. Residents report the Jacob Canal was recently cleared at the construction site for the lab, but not in the area which directly effects the residential homes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Clean fuel shouldn’t cost air quality

Letter to the Editor:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made good changes to the gasoline we use in our vehicles.

One of the first changes was to mandate unleaded gasoline, which has provided a healthier environment for us and our children. Then came low-sulfur gasoline, which also introduced ethanol into the product. Now the EPA requires a low-benzene gasoline.

While reduction of volatile organic compounds from our vehicles is an important goal to which we should all do our part to be part of the solution, it should not come at the cost of the little good air that is left in our neighborhoods around refineries.

The air quality in fenceline neighborhoods can be so poor at times that residents shelter themselves in place or hold their noses when they are on the roads that pass through some of the state’s 17 refinery facilities.

Louisiana law prohibits the state Department of Environmental Quality from issuing a permit that maintains a nuisance or a danger to public health and safety, and furthermore, technology exists that could protect public health and reduce toxic air emissions in fenceline communities.

Louisiana DEQ should require extra air monitoring to ensure its 17 refineries’ air permit limits are maintained, and air monitoring may even help the refineries become more efficient.

To protect public health and the quality of air we breathe, the best available technology should be utilized to result in the lowest achievable emission levels. That would be the best approach to maintaining a balance between our residential districts and our heavy-industry neighbors.

Without the installation and maintenance of appropriate pollution controls, the balance will unjustly shift toward industry — as we have so often witnessed — and that undermines our health and safety as well as that of our children.

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