Thursday, September 29, 2011

burning of road board approved

Open burning event scheduled to occur at Mantle Well site in Assumption Parish

DEQ Communications - 4 hours ago

Mantle Oil and Gas, LLC will use an air curtain destructor to burn road board used in the cleanup of a well blowout that occurred in Assumption Parish in August, 2010. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality issued the facility a permit to use the air curtain destructor and the burn will begin on Monday. The burn is a necessary waste handling measure that will burn more than 200 tons of road board.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

hydrogen sulfide

Yesterday, the peak hydrogen sulfide reading in Chalmette Vista was 16 ppb.  Some studies have shown "former workers and residents living downwind of a crude oil processing plant had neurophysiological abnormalities. Residents in this study were exposed to hydrogen sulfide at 10 ppb, although concentrations occasionally reached 100 ppb. " 

(from Earthworks) .

Monday, September 26, 2011

sulfur dioxide exceedances

Sulfur dioxide peaks in Chalmette Vista   9-25-2011   177 ppb
and 9-26-2011  226 ppb

the EPA one-hour health standard for sulfur dioxide is 75 ppb

Sunday, September 25, 2011

coke barn repairs update

ExxonMobil's refinery at Chalmette has been placed under a compliance order by Louisiana DEQ to make certain repairs to its coker unit storage barn by end March 2012.  LDEQ will incorporate this specific requirement into ExxonMobil's air permit renewal for the unit. 

coke barn roof condition May 2011

coke barn roof condition January 2011.

These broken roof panels can be carried by wind and tropical storms onto adjacent worksites or into residential neighborhoods, causing physical harm.

 pg 39 ExxonMobil CRLCC proposed the following repair plan for the coke barn

1) Remove all of the sheeting (roof panels), purlins, roof struts, bracing, and roof rafters.

2) Wash concrete pad/floor of building to removee any remaining coke particulates to eleimanate potential of particulate emissions after roof panels are removed.

LDEQ will include a Specific Requirement in Permit renewal requiring these activities be completed before March 31, 2012.

Friday, September 23, 2011

EPA Vetoes Air Permit

Remands to LDEQ for Further Review

(St. Bernard Parish, LA) –  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, rejected a Clean Air Act permit for Murphy Oil, Inc.'s Meraux, Louisiana refinery.

The pollution permit is for a processing unit for low-benzene gasoline products at Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery and is part of the EPA’s clean fuel mandates.  The benzene reducing unit was constructed and placed into service in March 2011 at the Meraux, Louisiana refinery. Early this month, Valero Energy Corporation announced its agreement to purchase the Meraux refinery pending regulatory approvals.

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, showed that LDEQ miscalculated and that changes to the refinery are "major," triggering the requirement for more stringent pollution control technology. The petition also showed 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.  EPA agreed, objected to Murphy Oil's permit, and remanded the permit application to LDEQ for further review.

The EPA granted the citizen's petition that LDEQ failed to provide adequate public comment responses regarding sufficient information in the permit records. EPA wrote, "We cannot determine whether all necessary information is located within the permit records." "Many of the emission calculations were illegible and supported only by reference to personal emails between Murphy Oil employees and their consultant."

Comments made by Concerned Citizens in the July 2009 public hearing explained “it is difficult, if not impossible to comment .... without seeing the basis of emission calculations." Public records requests by the Concerned Citizens for specific information from LDEQ on Murphy Oil's emissions calculations were unanswered.

The EPA also agreed that data for certain emission calculations were not included in the permit record, including the releases made during emergency flaring, emissions due to malfunctions at the benzene unit, and the total estimated sulfur content of the refinery fuel gas. LDEQ must also respond to public comments on emission increases due to roof landings for the floating roof tanks.

The Concerned Citizen’s view the petition to EPA as part of their ongoing participation in the public permitting process. 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, September 22, 2011

Candidate Forums

SEPTEMBER 26th,  27th, 28th  7pm   Alliance for Good Government Candidate Forums @Nunez Community College Auditorium
Sept. 26th
Sept. 27th  All Council District Seats
Sept. 28th

OCTOBER 1st  6PM Pastor's Coalition Candidate Forum @ 1st Baptist Church

The St. Bernard Pastor's Coalition will sponsor a forum for candidates for St. Bernard Parish president and St. Bernard sheriff. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at the First Baptist Church, 305 E.
St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette. 

The coalition said the four candidates for sheriff and the four candidates for parish president have been invited.
The St. Bernard Parish Pastor's Coalition, a group of nearly 30 evangelical churches in the parish, does not endorse candidates for office.  The election is Oct. 22. Runoffs, if necessary, will be Nov. 19.

September 29th, October 5th, October 18th  6pm  St. Bernard Parish Chamber of Commerce Political Forum @ St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers

Sept 29th Louisiana State House and Senate Seats and St. Bernard Parish Councilman-At-Large East and West Seat Candidates

Oct 5th  St. Bernard Parish President, Sherifff, Assessor, and Clerk of Court Candidates

Oct 12th  All St. Bernard Parish Council Distict Seat
Location: St. Bernrad Parish Council Chambers. Chamber of Commerce Members are asked to send questions, noting the specific candidate to question. Opportunty to submit questions is only available to Chamber Members.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

air strikes

St. Bernard Parish’s failure to meet EPA’s new health protection standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) for sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations in community air may have a connection to lax emissions controls.  More stringent, state-of-the-art pollution controls may provide a solution.

In May 2011, the LDEQ recommended a non-attainment status for air quality in St. Bernard Parish based on community monitors that demonstrate exceedingly high sulfur dioxide levels. With such exceedingly high air concentration levels, even small increments exacerbate the adverse health effects.

Last week, Murphy Oil had a sulfur dioxide (SO2) release of about 450 pounds, just under the reportable quantity of 500 pounds for SO2. Yet, the community ambient air monitor on nearby Ventura Drive  measured a reading of 54 ppb SO2 hourly average. The actual real time readings are higher than the displayed averages.  In the same time frame, another “air-strike” or spike in SO2 readings occurred further west in Chalmette, along the ExxonMobil refinery corridor where the LDEQ Chalmette Vista air monitor measured 196 ppb SO2 hourly average.


Friday, September 16, 2011

M / V Plant Update

65517. Murphy/Valero Update from a resident CAP member   09/16/11 12:32 AM

Murphy scheduled to transfer on October 1 2011 to Valero Energy Corp.

The company owns 16 other refineries.

They invest in alternative energy such as ethanol and wind mills.

Regional V.P. refers to the area where Murphy bought residences as a "Green Belt" similar to buffer areas around existing Valero refineries near residential areas with no plans for use in any other way but as green belt..

All Murphy employees will be hired by Valero .

Valero hopes to continue and improve best safety practices as well as community relations.

The Citizens Advisory Comittee and current members will continue to meet monthly.

There is a potential for expansion within the plant as it exists.

(IMO) Not much will change.
Note on greenbelt and transfer of LLT properties to refinery
HRQL Meeting 8-24-2011 around the six minute mark

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

sulfur dioxide @ chalmette

sulfur dioxide exceedances again @Ch_Vista monitor.
September 13, 2011 peak SO2 reading of 196 ppb.  EPA health standard for SO2 is 75 ppb.

In June 2011, Louisiana DEQ recommended a nonattainment status for St. Bernard Parish for sulfur dioxide.  By February 2012,  EPA will confirm and or modify the State's recommendations.  By February 2014, each State must submit a plan of action designed to reduce the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the community's air.  For more information on the new sulfur dioxide health standards click here

The Ch_Vista monitor data is accessible at the LDEQ website , right hand column menu, ON AIR icon, select site data,  select Ch_Vista 

St. Bernard Parish has two other ambient air monitors.  One at Joe Davis Elementary school, called the Meraux site, which is accessible at the LDEQ website, ON AIR menu, select site data, select Meraux. 

The other ambient air monitor in St. Bernard Parish is located in the Murphy Oil area on Ventura Drive.  The Ventura Drive air monitor data is accessible here:     Murphy Oil Monitor 

On September 13 2011, the Ventura monitor sulfur dioxide reading also peaked around the same time of day.  The peak SO2 reading at the Ventura site was 54 ppb.  These readings are averages.  One would need access to the actual SO2 readings to determine peak sulfur dioxide short term exposure.

Our air in St. Bernard Parish is so heavily concentrated with sulfur dioxide, that industries emissions in the aggregate are unhealthily for all community members, and even perhaps seemingly small increments of this chemical will cause adverse health effects  in the community. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

SO2 readings Chalmette Vista

Air quality readings in Chalmette spiked today at 296 ppb sulfur dioxide.  The EPA has set a new sulfur dioxide health standard of 70 ppb.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

sulfur dioxide peaks

CH_Vista air monitor in Chalmette, LA peaked sulfur dioxide readings today at 223 ppb .  The EPA set a new sulfur dioxide health one-hour standard at 70 ppb.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

through Eddie's lens

St. Bernard 's rebuilding and recovery through the lens of Eddie Evans


Friday, September 2, 2011

buffer zone update


Seafood business expansion in buffer zone may be back on horizon.

Despite setbacks from the oil spill of the BP rig explosion, a St. Bernard Parish seafood restaurant seems set to benefit from another oil spill and it’s resulting court ordered buffer zone.

 Last year, the business agreed  to purchase three adjacent buffer zone lots for $10,000 each, but those sales agreements were let to expire.  Those three properties were originally sold to Murphy Oil USA, Inc. pursuant the crude-oil-spill class action, Turner v Murphy Oil, for $44,000, $53,040, and $94,560, respectively.  The court-ordered voluntary option for homeowners in a particular segment of the oil spill to sell to the oil company was intended  "to create a buffer".

Today's prices for three adjacent buffer zone lots are as low as $4,000 per lot. It’s the catering part of the business which was said to expand last year, as this business caters to local industry turnarounds and other events, including the BP oil spill catering needs.  While residents support local business, it should not be at the cost of their neighborhood or their home property values. At $4,000 per lot for commercial development instead of greenspace, that hardly helps property values or the parish tax base.  When Planning Commissioners asked if this was the land Murphy Oil is supposed to present a plan for, the applicant stated he spoke with Murphy Oil just today and they came up with something but they are tweaking it, so he did not have the plan with him.

The neighborhood hopes the expected future zoning change application will include long awaited improvements for truck traffic , adequate unloading area, customer parking, drainage and ample safety margins for the three large propane tanks added since Hurricane Katrina.

The Murphy Oil crude-oil-spill case, Turner v Murphy, ordered the Meraux Refinery ‘s voluntary buyup program, which is intended “to create a buffer.” The agreement did not allow Murphy Oil to re-sell the buffer zone properties for commercial or industrial uses; residents were told by Murphy Oil, and relied on this information to base their decisions, that the land would be used for  a green zone buffer.

Now, residents wonder what’s next on the menu. Murphy Oil has already purchased several Road Home or LLT Lots in the neighborhood despite a promise to residents from St. Bernard Parish Government that no LLT properties would be transferred to the Meaux refinery without a landuse plan. The Meraux Refinery is also using some of the homes purchased for the buffer as work bunk housing instead.  Additionally, Murphy Oil officials have recently offered an explanation of their agreement with the local Court House, Clerk of Court not to release the buffer zone real estate transactions for publication, further keeping public information from residents.  Neighbors think this is all too fishy.

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.  That is their right to full and equal access to information before the decisions are made; its part of their right to secure tenure.

In the Fall of 2005, these dedicated neighbors were some of the first residents to return after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and the Murphy Oil spill, even celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas 2005 in their restored 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, as much as any other neighborhood in the Parish.  Yet, they sadly suspect local government and the Meraux Refinery have other plans.

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