Thursday, December 9, 2010

Payless ShoeSource Gives Free Shoes for Children

St Bernard Children to Receive Free Shoes through “Payless Gives" 

The Community Center of St Bernard is pleased to announce that it has been selected as an official partner of Payless Gives, an annual giving program from Payless ShoeSource. The Center is among 800 charitable agencies representing all 50 states in the United States, across Canada and Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries to be part of the program.

The Community Center will be distributing coupons for shoes to children whose families participate in our Mustard Seed Food Pantry. Being in the Food Pantry means that each family has an income less than 130% of the federal poverty limit. In real dollar amounts, 98% of these families earn less than $25,000 annually, and 65% are struggling to get by on $10,000 per year or less.

“In its third year, the goal of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program remains the same -- to provide footwear, a basic necessity, to children who might otherwise go without,” said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless. “The success of the program over the past two years, and the number of children and families we have been able to assist, continues to drive our efforts. Unemployment is still very high, affecting many families that struggle to provide their children with basic essentials. This is especially challenging during the holidays, and with the Community Center of St Bernard's help, we hope to make a bigger impact than ever this year.”

For more information about the ways in which the Community Center is helping St Bernard residents this holiday season, please visit the website at   or call 504.281.2512

Sunday, December 5, 2010

undermining democracy

Philip Radford
Executive Director, Greenpeace
Huffington Post Article

 we believe it is every citizen's right to stand up for the health of their children and community without fearing retribution, an invasion of privacy, conspiracy against them or theft of their belongings

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Photo Op

The Live Oak Trees which grace Judge Perez Blvd were decorated overnight on November 30th to announce the start of the holiday season. The candy canes and peppermint ribbon-candied bows are the result of the art and other works of many residents and other community members under the guidance of the St. Bernard Community Foundation's Neighborhood Initiatives Director, Ms. Polly Campbell.

The St. Bernard Parish Tourism Commission reminds everyone to enjoy the events of the holiday season, including:

Christmas Tour of Homes  Historic Old Arabi Neighborhood   Cost: $12-$15  278.4242   Thursday, December 9th @ 11am-2pm &  6-9pm

Islenos Christmas Bonfire   Islenos Museum Complex  Admission Free   554-8412   Sunday, December 12th @ 5pm

Christmas at Sebastopol   Sebastopol Plantation   Admission Free    278-4242  Sunday, December 12th @ 6pm
Yuletide Celebration at the Malus-Beauregard House  Chalmette Battlefield   Admission Free   589-2636  Saturday, December 11th &    Sunday, December 12th @ 10am-4pm

For more information, call the Tourist Commission at 504-278-4242 or go to


Friday, December 3, 2010

Concerned Citizens Seek EPA Veto on Murphy Oil Air Permit

Louisianans Demand Action From U.S. EPA

Courthouse News Service

Complaint filed December 2010

Petition to Administrator of the U S EPA to Object to Murphy Oil's Air Permit

Press Release

EPA asked to Veto Murphy Oil's Air Permit

Concerned Citizens Ask EPA to Veto Murphy Oil's Air Permit

St. Bernard Parish, LA, December 2, 2010 – Concerned Citizens Around Murphy ("Concerned Citizens") filed suit yesterday to compel EPA to veto a Clean Air Act permit for Murphy Oil U.S.A., Inc.’s refinery in Meraux, Louisiana. Concerned Citizens brought the action because the permit fails to require state-of-the-art pollution control technology. Concerned Citizens Around Murphy v. Jackson, No. 2:10-cv-04444 (E.D. La. Dec. 1, 2010).

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued the permit to Murphy in October 2009. Concerned Citizens, represented by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, petitioned EPA to object in December 2009. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must grant or deny these types of petitions within 60 days. Yesterday’s lawsuit seeks a court order to force EPA to respond.

The permit is for a processing unit for low-benzene gasoline products at Murphy’s Meraux refinery. LDEQ based the permit limits on pollution estimates that fell below a threshold for installation of state-of-the-art pollution controls (known as Best Available Control Technology). The Concerned Citizens’ petition to EPA, however, shows that LDEQ miscalculated and that changes to the refinery are “major,” triggering the requirement for more stringent pollution control technology. The petition also shows that LDEQ failed to gather enough emission data to make a reliable judgment about whether Murphy’s application triggered the requirement for state-of-the-art controls.

“We may have to bear increased emissions in our neighborhood because of this project. But we believe that Murphy Oil’s application low-balled how much those emissions would increase,” said Suzanne Kneale, an officer in Concerned Citizens. “If Murphy Oil showed how much they will really emit of volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide, then we’ll know what we’re dealing with,” she said.

The filing of this lawsuit comes a week after the refinery accidentally leaked at least 500 lbs. of sulfur dioxide—a pollutant that can cause breathing problems and respiratory disease. Also, the group sees a connection between lax emission controls and St. Bernard Parish’s failure to meet EPA’s new health protection standard for sulfur dioxide concentrations in air.

“If our air has too much of a pollutant like sulfur dioxide already, then it’s important to know the facts when a facility plans to put much more of it in our air,” said Suzanne Kneale. “If pollution exceeds a certain level, then requiring controls could rein it in to safer levels. We can have both safer emissions as well as provide for public health and our quality of life—the choice doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

Under the Clean Air Act, if the Administrator of the EPA objects to the permit, either EPA or LDEQ will modify, terminate, or revoke and reissue the permit to correct the deficiencies.

The Concerned Citizens’ petition to EPA and yesterday’s lawsuit against EPA raises a separate issue from the permit violations involved in an earlier lawsuit between the Concerned Citizens and Murphy. Yesterday’s lawsuit involves a dispute about appropriate permit limits, as opposed to the permit violations that were at issue in the earlier lawsuit. In that earlier case, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Murphy “frequently violated its permits by exceeding emission limitations and continued to violate them after plaintiffs filed suit.” Concerned Citizens Around Murphy v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., No. 08-4986 (E.D. La. Feb. 3, 2010). After that ruling, the Concerned Citizens joined Global Consent Decree negotiations with EPA, Murphy, and LDEQ. These negotiations resulted in a draft Consent Decree that EPA lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on September 28, 2010. (The Consent Decree is lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin because it governs both of Murphy’s U.S. refineries, one of which is located in Superior, Wisconsin.) That Consent Decree is expected to resolve the lawsuit between the Concerned Citizens and Murphy and the Concerned Citizens are hopeful that the Consent Decree will result in increased cooperation between the refinery and its neighbors. The Concerned Citizen’s view yesterday’s lawsuit as part of their ongoing participation in the public permitting process and are optimistic that they will reach an early and cooperative resolution with EPA.

Concerned Citizens is a residents’ advocacy group whose purpose is to protect the health, safety, environment, and quality of life of Meraux and the surrounding communities in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

blown fuse causes hydrocarbon discharge

Updated:  The photos below were taken around 10am on Thursday Nov 25th around the municipal address 2001 Jacob Drive, Chalmette, LA.  It was reported that the new petrochemical testing lab sump pump malfunctioned due to a blown fuse, causing a hydrocarbon discharge into our neighborhood canal, which flows through the neighborhood and into the nearby central wetlands.

Residents reported a distinct gasoline smell in their backyards from the neighborhood’s Jacob Canal.

Update 12 06 2010 Report to LDEQ

The DEQ’s public announcement commercials contain one segment which educates the public about how the amount of oil from just one vehicle’s oil change will contaminate one million gallons of water. How much gasoline and other chemicals have been dumped in our neighborhood in the last 12 months?

Pursuant Turner vs Murphy, some property owners were given the option to sell to the refinery. The court ordered Murphy to make an offer to purchase some of the surrounding properties to create a buffer. Some of this buffer was used to construct a petrochemical testing lab in a residential neighborhood. Murphy was not required to obtain a DEQ nor EPA permit nor to make an environmental assessment survey for this lab. Murphy applied for a local zoning change from residential to a conditional, heavy industrial use. Residents requested copies of the drainage plans and traffic study, but were told there were none. Instead, residents were assured Murphy Oil would not use the residential street and that all discharges from the lab would go back to the refinery. There is no discharge permit for Murphy which allows an outfall into Jacob Drive Canal.

This is not the first time residents have observed the refinery discharges into the Jacob Drive Canal.   (around the 4:14 mark)

December 09 2009 Report

October 2010 Enforcement Warning Letter

Petrochemical Testing Permits

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ExxonMobil Chalmette air monitoring results

Recently posted to the La DEQ public records are the
monitoring results from samples taken on the other side of the Mississippi River from ExxonMobil Chalmette for 10_04_2010 hydrogen sulfide release   It is unclear if ExxonMobil performed any air monitoring in Chalmette, in the areas adjacent to or nearby the refinery.  The parish prison adjoins the refinery and residential neighborhoods are just across the St. Bernard Hwy.

The community air monitors detected hydrogen sulfide, as reported by Aaron Clark of Bloomberg

SO2 readings over health standard

Sulfur Dioxide spikes over the new health sulfur dioxide standard of 75 ppb for a one hour reading.

CH_Vista monitoring station readings are accessible on the La DEQ website right hand menu under ON AIR Current AQI menu. Select site data, select CH_Vista and select a date. Or make the same selections at this link:

Nov 24th 2010 135 ppb

Nov 23rd 2010 242 ppb

Nov 22nd 2010 106 ppb

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Public Comment Opportunities

1)December 6, 2010 Public Comment Opportunity deadline for Federal Consent Decree settlement between the United States, State of Wisconsin, Louisiana DEQ and Murphy Oil USA.

click here for more info on Federal Consent Decree

2)Murphy Oil USA's solid waste permit renewal application was due in late October 2010 per La DEQ notification document 6174148 dated June 23 2010. In response to a public records request, La DEQ indicated as of November 15 2010, Murphy Oil has not submitted the permit renewal application but did make a verbal notifiction on November 15, 2010 regarding a November 12, 2010 written request for an extension to apply for renewal. Once submitted, the permit renewal application will be under review by the State agency, a copy should post to public records, and the La DEQ has offered to meet with residents for outreach and informational purposes on this issue.

3)Public Comment Opportunity expected to public notice soon for yet another settlement on additional alleged violations of the air permit. more information on this proposed settlement here

4)closed Public Comment on alleged violations clean water act settlement between Louisiana DEQ and Murphy Oil     Information on proposed water permit settlement

5)closed Public Comment on Hazardous Waste Land Treatement Unit Closure Information

Saturday, November 20, 2010

public document changes

The Louisiana DEQ has made changes to the electronic data management system which re-numbered all the public documents.  Previous links to public records may no longer access the information. select EDMS. Enter the original document number under "Document ID"
The La DEQ is working on a more efficient system to cross-reference links to both document numbers.

By using the original document number contained in the link, the document should be viewable on the La DEQ website right hand menu under EDMS.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Safe School Locations

EPA Draft Voluntary Guidelines for Safe School Locations

The above draft guidelines contain some interesting information regarding contaminated sites. 
This is of particular interest, given the local  school board is planning to construct a new public elementary school at the former St. Mark's school site that has recent contamination sample data


Sunday, October 31, 2010

hydrogen sulfide spikes in Meraux

On Saturday Oct 30 2010 the Joe Davies Elementary school playground “Meraux” air monitor's hydrogen sulfide reading spiked to 16 ppb or 0.016 ppm. 

 “EPA set the safe exposure level at 0.00014 ppm to protect children and the elderly.

Also on Saturday Oct 30 2010 the Bluebird Park plaground in Chalmette Vista neighborhood  Ch_Vista Community Air Monitor site reading for hydrogen sulfide spiked to 10 ppb or 0.01 ppm, and the particulate matter 2.5 reading spiked to 28 ppb.

also accessible at  right hand menu, select ON AIR, select "Site Data"

Photo October 30, 2010


Saturday, October 30, 2010

bunk house buffer

A few more homeowners have opted to sell to the Murphy refinery pursuant Turner v Murphy Order and Reasons along with the understanding from the  Fairness Hearing  

According to the parish attorney, in earlier council meetings, the Murphy refinery's agreement with our community is to clear the land for greenspace.  But, he also said they would leave the street lights because not everyone will sell and some will remain in the neighborhood. 

Now, the Murphy refinery proposes to use some of these homes for workers who will be required to "check-in to a bunk house" when their work shift runs over time and the commute home does not allow enough time for the much needed rest before the next day's shift. 

We know the Historic Arabi neighborhood requires special zoning and a license to operate either a bed and breakfast or a lodging house.  Residents wonder if our local code will be enforced and if local officials will take initiative to help us preserve the integrity of our residential neighborhood and protect our property values.

Even before Hurricane Katrina, the residents were subjected to transient refinery workers who parked in the neighborhood, trespassed, stole, and even jumped the canal to gain entry into the Murphy Meraux plant.  After Katrina, some Murphy refinery workers were arrested in the neighborhood for trespassing, stealing and carrying guns.

Murphy Oil has also proposed to sell some of the buffer lots to a local seafood restaurant for commercial expansion. In July 2010 Murphy Oil announced its intentions to exit the refinery business and the refinery manager indicated the buffer lots, administration building, tank farms and terminal would be sold as one unit, along with the refinery campus.

The Murphy Oil refinery has taken to boarding up the blighted houses, presumably before demolition.

Friday, October 29, 2010

sulfur dioxide over 200 ppb at Chal_Vista

October 25, 2010, the LDEQ air monitor at Bluebird neighborhood park had readings over the new health sulfur dioxide standard of 75 ppb for an hourly reading.  By 6pm the sulfur dioxide was well over the health standard, measuring over 200 ppb in the evening and remaining over the health standard the next morning.

Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 25 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 24 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings as of 10 pm Oct 26 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 26 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 27 2010

"Site Data" for the Chal_Vista monitor can be viewed at this link
also accessible at  right hand menu, select ON AIR, select "Site Data", select Chal-Vista, select Oct 25 2010. Add two hours to display time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hospital Funding

from a post by Mr. Landry, Chairman HSD
and from information at Townhall Meeting, also viewable on Channel 76

the bids for the hospital construction are due November 9 2010

the funds that are obtained are as follows:

A) $17 million capital outlay from the State of Louisiana

......restrictions are: 1) must be built within 3 miles of Jackson barracks ; 2) must be at least 40 beds; 3) must have all funds to build it and operate it identified; 4) money not available until second half of next year (July 2011)

B) $1.3 million HRSA grant........restrictions are no soft costs and must have approval of use, (this money used on phase 1 site prep)

C) $41 million CDBG funds.....restrictions....only used for items approved by state......state reluctant to give overall approval of soft costs, very heavily monitored and audited and primarily for construction and equipment costs.

D) $10 million New Market Tax Credits......very complicated in order to secure these funds, but a lot less restrictive than the other funding sources.

E) 10 year – 8 mill property tax revenue stream bonded out for $16.2 mill loan for start-up operations cash flow.  The property tax referendum is on the November 2 2010 ballot.  The bids for the hospital are due on November 9 2010. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Air Bus Visit

The LDEQ conducting mobile air monitoring around the Murphy Oil facility with its mobile air monitoring laboratory (MAML).  The air monitoring occured during a time when the Meraux facility was operating at reduced rates. Citizen's Report during air bus visit. 

 According to LDEQ's report, the wind direction with respect to the MAML’s location was opposite from the required direction.

Although residents have been concerned with the emissions during flaring events, the MAML’s focus was on the waste water treatment plant and conducted during a time of no flaring and no odors. There is no verification from LDEQ regarding whether or not the WWTP was operational on the test dates nor is there information regarding the biosolids sludge press operations.

The MAML had a power failure which hampered data collection and thwarted the VOC post sampling calibration. VOCs are volatile organic compounds and have no colour, smell, or taste. VOCs include a very wide range of individual substances, such as hydrocarbons, including benzen and toluene.

None the less, the highest level of H2S was 4.2 ppb or 0.0042 ppm.

Remember, 10 ppb = 0.01 ppm


“EPA set the safe exposure level at 0.00014 ppm to protect sensitive people such as children and the elderly.”

Hopefully the air bus will return on a day where the refinery is flaring and the residents are sick from the offsite effects.

Air Bus Sample Results

There is reason to believe the refinery was not operating at capacity due to a catalyst changeout. August 2, 2010 was an unusually quiet, good air day

Citizen's Report during and after Air Bus visit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

chronic exposure

coma and death can occur at exposure levels as low as 50 ppm--

Human Health Effects from Exposure to Low-Level Concentrations of Hydrogen Sulfide
EXPOSURE to high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas is a well-documented and understood hazard. OSHA and NIOSH standards have long recognized this acute risk with appropriate short-term maximum exposure levels for workers. However, long-term, chronic exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide is not as well understood.
To read the complete article, please go to:

The article continues:

“Kilburn and Warshaw (1995) concluded neurophysiologic abnormalities were associated with average H2S concentration levels of 10 ppb with peaks of 100 ppb in a neighborhood of exposed residents.”

Remember, 10 ppb = 0.01 ppm


“EPA set the safe exposure level at 0.00014 ppm to protect sensitive people such as children and the elderly.”

The community air monitors at our only high school (known as Chal_High site) have recorded H2S readings as high as 58 ppb or 0.058 ppm.  click here for link to report which also documents a school site in Lower Algiers (across the river from the ExxonMobil Chalmette refinery) whose air monitor recorded H2S readings as high as 91 ppb or 0.091 ppm. This Lower Algiers monitoring station site is known as Entergy and was   dismantled in 2008 in preparation for Hurricane Gustav.  It was never restored. Lower Algiers is an under-served, economically disadvantaged neighborhood.

The Joe Davies school playground (known as the Meraux site) and the Bluebird Park neighborhood playground (known as the Chal_Vista site) also record hydrogen sulfide in ppb.

This morning, the Joe Davies school playground’s hydrogen sulfide exposure level was as high as 6 ppb or 0.006 ppm. (Add two hours to the displayed time in order to obtain the correct time.) 

The World Health Organization (WHO 1981) advises “ambient concentration levels should not exceed 5 ppb, with a 30-minute averaging time.”

The community air monitors’ readings are accessible at the Louisiana Dept. Of Environmental Quality’s   website right hand column On Air menu , select ‘site data’, select Meraux or Chal_Vista.   Also available at this link

Hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous gas.  It has been found in some drywall materials. Residents with contaminated drywall have reported nose bleeds and other health effects from the offgasing of H2S inside their homes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ExxonMobil Chalmette refinery hydrogen sulfide release

Bloomberg News reports  on October 4, 2010 offsite air monitoring detected 21 to 40 parts per billion.

Our community's prayerful thoughts are with this young man and his family during this tragedy.

Post Note:  State-Police-Hazmat-Incident-Initial-Report

Monday, October 11, 2010


The Hospital Service District will conduct a Q & A Session at an evening community townhall meeting on Tuesday October 26, 2010 at 7pm in the Council Chambers.  The HSD is requesting a property tax millage; the voter referendum is on the November 2nd ballot.

For More Information:

The HSD Board meets every other Wednesday evening at 7pm.

Link to excerpts from Financial analysis  . 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Public Comment Opportunity

There are two Public Comment Opportunity(s) on the US EPA Consent Decree with Murphy Oil.

Notice in Federal Register

US EPA 30 day Comment Opportunity from October 6, 2010 to November 5, 2010

Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and either e-mailed to  or mailed to P.O. Box 7611, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20044–7611, and should refer to the matter as United States, et al. v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., DOJ Ref. No. 90 - 5 - 2 - 1 - 09186

Louisiana DEQ 45 day Comment Opportunity thru December 6, 2010
 Submit written comments to the LDEQ, Office of the Secretary, Legal Affairs Division, Post Office Box 4302, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4302 Attn: Dwana C. King, Attorney, Legal Affairs Division.  Ref: Settlement Number SA-AE-10-0071; Enforcement Number MM-CN-02-0015 or email  with same contact and reference.

During the EPA 30 day public comment period, the proposed agreements may be viewed on this site:

The Consent Decree is posted in the LDEQ EDMS under AI # 1238 document 7673947 or at this link

or, AFTER the LDEQ Public Notice expected this week, the Consent Decree will be posted on the LDEQ website at by selecting upper menu Divisions, Enforcement, and Settlement Agreements. Also at this link

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Murphy Oil says
the sale is on track to be a done deal by the end of the first quarter next year.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Murphy Oil Crude Oil spill contamination lingers

contaminated soil and ground water at former St Mark's Church and School site

lingering crude oil contamination 5 years after Murphy Oil crude oil spill

(I personally hope the school board does more extensive testing).

Recent soil and ground water testing results at former St. Mark's Church and School Site, where St. Bernard Parish School Board is planning another elementary school.

----levels exceeded RECAP screening standards for non-industrial land use for TPH-DRO, TPH-ORO and three PAH compounds: Benzo(a)anthracene, Benzo(b)flouranthene, and Benzo(a)pyrene

---the RECAP screening standard protective for groundwater was exceeded for the PAH compund 2-methylnaphthalene


sample results
Incident 125885

these links may be more accessible

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Murphy Oil Meraux Terminal

Public Notice
Title V Part 70 Renewal and Modification

LDEQ Public Notice=

The LDEQ, Office of Environmental Services, is accepting written comments on a proposed Part 70 air operating permit renewal/modification for Meraux Oil USA Inc., P. O. Box 100, Meraux, Louisiana 70075 for the Meraux Terminal. The facility is located at 2501 East St. Bernard Highway, Meraux, St. Bernard Parish.

Meraux Oil USA Inc. requested a renewal/modification for the Meraux Terminal which currently operates under Permit No. 2500-00027-V2 dated October 25, 2007.

Meraux Terminal proposes the following changes to the permit:

1. Increase the throughput of the terminal from 675 to 1027 MM gallons per year;

2. Incorporate tank emission caps for Gasoline/Ethanol, Emission Point GE-TC, and Diesel, Emission Point D-TC, to allow for operational flexibility;

3. Incorporate the Case-by-Case dated March 5, 2010, and approved March 26, 2010, for an additive tank, Emission Point 4-3;

4. Remove Additive Tank, Emission Point 4-2, from the permit (an Insignificant Activity);

5. Incorporate a Wastewater Tank (Grey Water Tank), Emission Point T-GW;

6. Reconcile fugitive emissions based on the current modification and fugitive component audit;

7. Update Insignificant Activities List and the General Condition Activities List based on updated components, modification, and operating conditions; and

8. Reconcile specific requirements and minor updates based on the applicability and operating conditions.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Disposal Regulations

Coal Ash Threatens Water From Baton Rouge Southwards  by Susan Buchanan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is worried about coal ash nationally, and is holding hearings across the country this month to gather ideas about how to regulate its disposal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

LDEQ Meeting and Public Comments

The St Bernard Parish Council has requested a Public Hearing on Murphy Oil's Land Treatment Unit Post Closure Plan. The LDEQ Public Hearing will be held on 9/23/2010 at 6pm in the Council Chambers.

More Information Here

LDEQ is accepting Public Comments on its proposed settlement agreement with
Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery on alleged violations of its LPDES water discharge permit.\862010_13970490.HTM

Proposed Settlement

Written comments can be submitted to the Louisiana Department of
Environmental Quality, Office of the Secretary, Legal Affairs Division, RE:
Settlement Tracking No. SA-WE-10-0040, Post Office Box 4302, Baton Rouge
Louisiana 70821-4302, Attention: Carolyn O. Bryant, Attorney, or email
comments to SPOC at with same reference tracking number and contact
attention. Public Comment deadline is 9/20/2010.

For more information scroll down for Murphy Oil Settlement
or go to the LDEQ website, at  , by selecting Divisions, Enforcement,
and Settlement Agreements for Murphy Oil AI #1238

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 14 2010 road work aggregate stockpiles along canal side of street without rain runoff provisions.  Stockpiles were used by the time of the October 2010 inspection , when photos were taken of additional aggregate stored on nearby vacant lots.  The road work is being done throughout the parish.

Other sections of the road work seem to be using a different type of aggregate: calcium carbonate, the solid waste from the nearby sugar refinery.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

its not just in drywall

Hydrogen Sulfide dangers

The presence of traces of hydrogen sulfide in air aggravates the breathing, increases the probability of contracting diseases due to bacteria and viruses, reduces the iron in the blood an compromises certain functions of the liver and kidneys

Friday, September 3, 2010

LDEQ EnvironSchool Session

Please Join Us for an evening Community Town Hall Meeting hosted by Concerned Citizens

Agenda:  LDEQ EnvironSchool Session "Ambient Air Monitoring" stations in our community.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 6:30pm
Room 100 at Chalmette High School

Admission is Free and Open to the Public
For More Information email

article on community

Update on Chalmette

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Keep Focused on Health and Environment

With oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico, Americans understand that environmental regulations must be written and enforced before a disaster, not after an oil well blows or a refinery explodes. Citizens now realize the significance of vigilant government agencies in keeping corporations focused on public health and a clean environment.--------Guest column: Iowa right to question S.D. refinery permit

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cost Effective Alternative Would Be Welcomed

The flaring event Wednesday August 4th at the Meraux plant was attributed to shutting down two units in order to changeout catalyst, an operation which is expected to take two weeks.(Reuters Report by Erwin Seba)    Some speculate Murphy's operation may include other maintenance to the units, perhaps replacing corroded pipes, given the highly corrosive property of the liquid catalyst used at the refinery. Residents remain concerned about possible leaks and the dangerous vapors which would go into the community.

Murphy Oil's domestic refineries are two of 51 U.S. oil refineries which are still using the deadly catalyst hydrofluoric acid or HF. (Neil Carman, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, Page 55)

""Fortunately, hydrofluoric acid is not the only material oil refineries can use in their refining processes. Many other refineries already use sulfuric acid, a safer alternative, in the alkylation process. This cost-effective and widely-used alternative diminishes the appeal of refineries as a terrorist target and mitigates the public health and safety consequences of an accident. In addition, a new technology, solid acid catalysts, will soon be available for widespread commercial use, offering an even safer option than the use of sulfuric acid.""
Needless Risk: Oil Refineries and Hazard Reduction

St Bernard Parish residents would welcome the use of a safer option in the alkylation process, one which would mitigate health and safety risks inherent to the highly corrosive catalyst.

Saturday, August 7, 2010



Send written comments by September 20, 2010.

Louisiana DEQ has requested Murphy Oil submit a solid waste renewal application for the ponds, or secondary storm water basins. Additionally, Murphy Oil's water discharge permit is under review. Both applications are expected to public notice soon, but we need improvements now.

Murphy Oil caused and allowed quantifiable amounts of benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene to waters of the state in violation of their LPDES Permit. Murphy Oil discharged storm water runoff from locations not authorized in their LPDES permit. Murphy Oil failed to properly operate and maintain the facility and systems of treatment and control in violation of their LPDES permit. ....... Murphy Oil did not have adequate secondary containment as required by its Spill Prevention and Control Plan.....specifically, the SPC plan states...areas should be surrounded by earthen secondary containment dikes that are designed to detain the volume of the largest tank within the containment, plus allow adequate freeboard for precipitation. (excerpts from Compliance Order MM-CN-02-0015)

Murphy Oil and Louisiana DEQ have reached a water discharge settlement agreement (page 55 of settlement link below). The Proposed Settlement is for a 2008 Compliance Order - Water Discharge Permit WE-CN-08-0410 (page 4) and a MultiMedia Compliance Order MM-CN-02-0015 (page 17). Proposed Water Discharge Settlement Agreement  Murphy Oil agrees to pay $153,177 and not object to the inclusion of the alleged violations in its compliance history.

The Settlement Does Not Require Any Improvements! Murphy Oil should be required to contain its own storm water with increased storm water capacity and to re-route discharges so not to foul our neighborhood canals and nearby central wetlands. Requirements should also be made in Murphy’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

The Settlement does not provide for any BEP's or Beneficial Environmental Projects in the community.

Submit written comments to suggest Required Improvements and Beneficial Environmental Projects. BEP’s can also be suggested here !

Murphy Oil continues to demonstrate an inability to contain their own storm water and handle the known rain fall in this area. Murphy Oil should be required to increase both their storm water and waste water treatment plant capacity(s) to handle Southeast Louisiana’s not uncommon 8 to 10 inch rains. Murphy Oil should be required to re-route its storm water drainage and waste water treatment discharges so not to foul our neighborhood canals and nearby wetlands. Murphy Oil should be required to segregate its storm water treatment from the process water and waste water treatment.

The secondary storm water basins or ponds have no dikes (or levees), the tank farm containment levees proved inadequate for hurricanes, and the storm water canal overflowed in the June 2009 incident viewable around the 4:14 minute mark of this YouTube Link  .

Murphy Oil continues the use of municipal pipes (unpermitted outfalls) and our neighborhood canals as an emergency discharge route. This canal meanders through several residential neighborhoods before municipal pumps discharge into the central wetlands north of the 40 arpent canal. December 2009 Murphy Oil Discharge in Neighborhood   . Additional Photos


Comments can be made now on this proposed settlement agreement. Submit comments by September 20, 2010. Reference Settlement Tracking No. SA-WE-10-0040

Submit written comments to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Office of the Secretary, Legal Affairs Division, RE: Settlement Tracking No. SA-WE-10-0040, Post Office Box 4302, Baton Rouge Louisiana 70821-4302, Attention: Carolyn O. Bryant, Attorney, or email comments to with same reference tracking number and contact attention. Deadline for Comments is September 20, 2010 (45 DAYS FROM AUGUST 6, 2010 Publication of Notice).

Proposed Settlement Links  also on the LDEQ website, at , by selecting Divisions, Enforcement, and Settlement Agreements for Murphy Oil AI# 1238

Public Notice for Comments

Sunday, August 1, 2010


link above for Library documents

Meeting Discussion Agreement or Lease with School Board and what will happen to our Public Library if the School space is no longer available.   Upon public records request for a copy of this agreement, both the Library Board of Control and the School Board verbally explained there is no written agreement.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Worker Safety

Letter: Support needed for bill to protect workers

Working men and women should not be subjected to conditions that have become more hazardous due to management’s decisions that place profit over safety.....  When equipment fails at a facility and is not repaired, management uses a phrase they call “Risk Management.” This tells employees the company is willing to risk their lives and those in the surrounding community to maintain production and profit.

  ------    Robert B. Hollis --  The Port Arthur News
July 31, 2010

ConcoPhillips refinery incident injures 13
...... ConocoPhillips is investigating the incident. No other employees of the company were allowed to discuss the incident......Officials with the hospital said workers were treated for fractures, sprains, scrapes and other abrasions. None of the workers suffered life-threatening injuries.....
----  Joe Gamm  ------- Amarillo dot com
August 2, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to School

The rig explosion and oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico have empacted many families in St Bernard Parish Louisiana.

You can help ease their burden through assistance with school supplies and uniforms by sending donations c/o Ms C Muntz, St. Bernard Parish Public Schools, 200 East St. Bernard Hwy, Chalmette, LA. 70043.

The elementary and middle schools in the eastern or coastal areas of our parish are: St Bernard Middle, W Smith Elementary, and J F Gauthier Elementary Schools.

Another unique situation in our community also creates a new need for classroom library books. Andrew Jackson Elementary School will re-open in August 2010 as Andrew Jackson Middle School, the third middle school to re-open since the Hurricane Katrina. 

The majority of the faculty staff at AJ Middle School will be Teach for America teachers.  These young, dedicated professionals have not yet accumulated books for classroom libraries.  Donations may be sent to the same contact above.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

ethanol free gasoline this summer helps local businesses

whether or not you are an E -15 proponent or an opponent, purchasing ethanol free fuel this summer helps local businesses impacted by the fishery closures.

with so many commercial and recreational fishers not purchasing the ethanol free fuel for their boat motors, other motorists could purchase ethanol free gasoline and help the smaller independent stations through these trying times.

some local gas stations with ethanol free fuel (based on lack of required sticker):
Ponstein's Paris(h) Road
Meraux Quick Stop St Bernard Hwy
Meraux Food Store E Judge Perez Dr
Southlake Judge Perez Dr
Sunshine Fuels Violet E Judge Perez Dr
Campo's Marina
Breton Sound Dock
Pure Gas Corner Colonial Drive Violet
Lionel Sernigne Marina Delacroix

to add to the list or submit informational links, please send a comment
to read more about ethanol blended gasoline:
Ethanol Free Gasoline
Ethanol labeling still required on fuel pump
Demand Ethanol Free Premium Unleaded Gasoline
Coalition opposes boosting ethanol mix in gas to 15%
The Ethanol Con

Ethanol Facts: Clean Air Clean Fuel
Ethanol remains a "good energy buy"
Ethanol Free Gas in Oregon
Ethanol Industry wants compete free and open market

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Louisiana DEQ Public Notices

Murphy Oil ponds
Notice of Application ---  Scheduled Publication Date July 23, 2010
Murphy Oil Meraux Hazardous Waste Post Closure Plan   

Check for updated Attachments at bottom of this link

Notice Of Application to be Submitted within 120 days
Murphy Oil Meraux Solid Waste - Secondary Storm Basin Water Permit

Link to Solid Waste Permit 1999

pg 6 and 7 explain capacity (or lack of capacity) for process and storm water

and (page 99) Murphy's waiver for a 200 foot buffer zone

page 129 states outside 100 year flood zone

Residents await much needed improvements which should put a stop to the use of our neighborhood canal for contaminated oil discharges.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Methane and H2S Surveys : Picarro CRDS Technology

Picarro CRDS Technology could be useful to monitor effects on air quality from the BP rig oil leak.  In January 2010 Picarro's Technology was demonstrated in the New Orleans Region.

Environmental Surveys January 2010

Chalmette Refinery and Murphy Oil methane plume analysis January 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

recycling cement slabs

particulates matter

located within a mile of the newly redeveloped Val Riess baseball fields, and within just a few blocks of  family neighborhoods, concrete dumps and cement chipping for recycling are not helping the air quality. nor is it protective of public health

concrete slabs stockpiled along the 40 arpent canal; the pink and red colored slabs indicate asbestos encapsulation, possibly from asbestos flooring tiles and mastic

the St Bernard Parish Council recently passed an emergency re-zoning ordinance to help facilitate the quick removal of stockpiled slabs from the 40 arpent canal.  The concrete will be moved to an E Law Street location within an existing industrial area.  Re-zoning was required to grant a conditional use for concrete grinding and chipping.  The emergency ordinance did not require a public hearing, although the planning commission conducted one the following week. 

The stockpiled slabs pose a weight-bearing concern for the 40 arpent canal and the concrete grinding and chipping will help recycle the concrete for use in levee t-wall work in the eastern district of the parish. Without proper dust suppression, the nearby family neighborhoods and ball park will be effected by particulate matter and other emissions associated with concrete chipping.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Public Library Board of Control Meeting

Library Board of Control - Third Monday of Each Month

NEXT MEETING June 21, 2010

Postponed May 2010 Meeting Agenda

March 2010 Meeting Minutes

April 20 2010 Remarks to Council
Seeking Justice for the Public Library

Oil Leak EXPO

Oil Spill Responders to Hold St. Bernard Parish Community EXPO June 16 ... Representatives from BP, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Wildlife and Fisheries, ... host an Open House Expo Wednesday, June 16th at the St. Bernard Council on Aging, 6 to 8 PM

PUBLIC HEARING Tuesday June 15 1PM

Arabi Park Subdivision
1600 Block  Aycock and Esteban at Judge Perez

Council Meeting Tuesday June 15, 2010 1PM
PUBLIC HEARING on zoning change from R1 residential to C1 Neighborhood Commercial

PUBLIC HEARING: Tuesday June 15 2010
Council Meeting 1pm

Arabi Park Subdivision 1600 Block Aycock and Esteban at Judge Perez
Summary No. 2655, an ordinance to approve Docket 4-10, a petition of the St. Bernard Parish Planning Commission to the St. Bernard Parish Council to consider a map change from "R, 1, (single family residential)" to "C-1, (neighborhoodcommercial)" for four lots situated in Arabi Park Subdivision, designated as Lot "1", Square "a"; Lot "29", Square "b"; and Lots "1" and "2", Square "c".

The Council's considerations for a parish-wide re-zoning of all properties within 250 feet of Judge Perez Drive could result in parking lots, dumpsters, commercial traffic and other nuisances coming to any residential street.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

House Committee Hearings

"Citizens suits like this one happened because refinery neighbors had to take enforcement into our own hands; federal and state enforcement was and is not happening. The situation is truly desperate. Accidents in the industry are ongoing but the agencies are not enforcing the law. We have been shouting about this problem for years."  --  LABB Founding Director, Anne Rolfes, Testifies with the House Committee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, Thursday June 10, 2010

Read her testimony  here .

Saturday, June 5, 2010

seems only the residents are compromising

The Council voted unanimously to grant commercial zoning to two Murphy-owned lots in our residential neighborhood.  Docket 5 - 10 zoning change

 Essentially, they granted a variance to their own ordinance, which clearly states commercial property SHALL NOT exceed 250 feet from a major highway. The Council does not have the authority to grant variances- only the Board of Zoning Adjustments does. Even a former planning commissioner pointed out that a previous docket's review by parish attorney(s) required resubdivision of lots so not to extend commercial property beyond 250 feet.  When questioned, the perspective buyer indicated he had not approached Murphy about resubdivision of the lots. Such re-subdivision would be a reasonable compromise and would minimize the adverse effects on the residents. It leaves plenty of room for the refinery catering contractor to store his equipment.  Yet, without it, parking, truck traffic, dumpsters for the seafood catering business and other nuisances will encroach further into this family neighborhood.  It was also mentioned that the catering trailers return late at night !

Residents still wonder what else Murphy Oil has on the menu. They had initially asked for the cater to use the available commercial property on the highway.  That lot can accommodate the business' expansion and re-zoning  is not required.

At a recent meeting with the new refinery manger, residents were asked to co-operate with the refinery and be that extra set of eyes and hears for issues at the plant. Residents were also told Murphy Oil Couldnot construct anything on the properties in the green-belt. Yet, we already have a petrochemical testing lab in the green-belt. After pointing out that this Docket's purchase agreements have expired, residents asked Murphy Oil to co-operate with the neighborhood and not extend the agreements.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Buffer For Sale


JUNE 1, 2010 7PM


Docket 5-10 Petition of Murphy Oil USA, Inc   
for a zoning change of three lots from residential (R1) to commercial (C1)   commercial usage of Murphy-owned residential lots

Lets All Join Together for Neighborhoods.

We are in opposition to a zoning change of three lots from residential (R1) to commercial (C1) behind the corner business on one of our neighborhood streets.

If the zoning change is approved, it will cause a decrease in property values. Added commercial and industrial traffic has already caused problems for the over two dozen children on this street and dozens more who live and play in the area. Creating such a traffic hazard increases the liability of the Parish and leaves these children without a safe neighborhood.

The same could happen to your neighborhood if the Parish continues to entertain such requests. With little to no public notice, the Council is discussing a parish-wide re-zoning of all properties within 250 feet of Judge Perez Drive, which could result in parking lots, dumpsters, commercial traffic and other nuisances coming to any residential street.

St Bernard Parish has more available commercial and industrial property now, than ever before, yet the integrity of all our residential neighborhoods appears to be expendable in the name of economic development. This type of zoning fails to meet St Bernard Parish's goal of economic development along with safe, productive family neighborhoods. Instead, this is spot zoning, and that's illegal.

Lets All Join Together for Neighborhoods. Here's what's happening in ours:

Murphy Oil entered into an agreement to sell some of its residentially-zoned property in the Ohio St. Neighborhood, on Despaux Drive, for $10,000 a lot. These properties, acquired by Murphy Oil pursuant the crude-oil-spill class action, Turner v Murphy Oil, originally sold for $44,000, $53,040, and $94,560, respectively. The court-ordered option to sell to the oil company was intended to create a buffer.

The perspective buyer wants to operate its growing catering business on the three R1-zoned lots behind the corner restaurant. Property is available on Judge Perez, but the buyer does not want to pay the higher price. If the re-zoning request is granted, commercial property will extend nearly 400 feet back from Judge Perez.

The St. Bernard Parish Council previously agreed not to rezone anything in this neighborhood until Murphy Oil provided two things to the residents of St. Bernard: 1) its Master Plan for the current facility and 2) a written plan of their long-term intent for the former "buyout" area. Only than could residents fully participate in an informed discussion to consider changes around the existing greenspace or buffer.

These dedicated neighbors were some of the first residents to return and restore their homes. They have already presented their vision for the revitalized neighborhood’s future and they have an equal right to the long-term security of their community.

The Parish Council will conduct a Public Hearing on June 1, 2010 at 7 PM in Council Chambers.

Comments may be submitted c/o the Council Clerk , Mr. Lauga , Mr. Cavignac , Mr. Henderson , Mr. Auderer , Mr. Landry , Mr. Ginart , or Mr. Everhardt

Monday, May 24, 2010


With Summer Vacation Starting soon, neighborhood children will be out and about enjoying the outdoors.  This five foot hole on Lena Drive was reported to SBPG Public Works some time ago.  More recently, Public Works was requested to properly fill the hole.

 Any child could easy explore under the street, and with the lack of sidewalks, any walker or bike rider could easily be hurt.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Are You Ready ?
Listen up! Get prepared!

St. Bernard Parish Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with Duke Engage prepared this informational segment in 2007 to help St. Bernard Parish prepare for hurricane season.

Directed by Ken Winters. Produced by Sam Bowler and Joseph Lanser.

Are You Ready?

Trim a Tree - Save a House

Clear storm drain basins and drainage canals

Monday, May 17, 2010

CANCELLED May 18th Meeting

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MRGO Ecosystem Restoration


May 19, 2010
LPV Mitigation IER 20 - St Bernard

United States Army Corps of Engineers 100-Year Hurricane Risk Reduction Public Meeting

Open House: 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Presentation & Discussion: 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

NP Trist Middle School
1 Pirates Cove
Meraux, LA 70075-2646

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5.8 inches rain

Sunday, Despaux Drive flooded, Jacob Drive clear

Three Inches of Rain

May 15 2010: Over three inches of rain in Chalmette today and NO FLOODING on Jacob Drive. The canal dreding must be working!!

Residents reported Jacob Drive back to pre-Katrina drainage capacity with the street clear during today's deluge. Yet, nearby Despaux Drive flooded, mid-calf deep in some sections.

With tomorrow's forecast, will see if the bank sides hold up.

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