Wednesday, November 30, 2011

when they dont want

when oil companies don't want public participation
We hold out hope the new owners and their management will be different. We continue dialogue in good faith and hope for substantial improvements not only in the processing units but also in the refinery's attitude and behavior concerning community relations. We look forward to their acceptance of our invitation to a neighborhood meet and greet.

Prior to the sale of the refinery, when management purported to be the transition team, in a Fall 2011 public meeting, we explained the refinery processes and equipment are still shaking our houses. There was little to no response, no new expressed concern to further a solution. When asked for information on a particular August incident which caused houses to move and rumble, it was said there was no information for that date. However, the discussion became lengthy concerning the unacceptable treatment of community members. Those targeted were assured a full investigation is underway. As of Spring 2012 there is still no information.

If you or someone you know has experienced harassing and intimidation tactics from representatives of the refinery, please send your story to We view this pattern as a violation of our civil rights and it will not be tolerated. Most recently, in Fall 2011, threats of physical harm from refinery workers to residents who call-in, upon the refinery's request, with concerns about processing incidents. This type of behavior and attitude towards our community was discussed nearly a year and a half before Fall 2011 with the then current refinery manager. Instead of fixing the problem, the refinery crew would driveby the complainants home, make note of what cars were parked at which houses, and claim there was no odor, no noise. Later, residents were questioned by refinery security guards about who is visiting their homes and in what vehicles, volunteering information and the knowledge of what typed of vehicle the residents and their guests drove. Residents were specifically asked who drives a certain vehicle or who was visiting the home on specific days. No neighborhood should be subjected to this. Why are the refinery security guards conducting surveillance on the residents? Their fenceline is way on the other side of the neighborhood, past a pipeline easement which is supposed to serve as a dividing buffer to protect the neighborhood.


65373.7. Meraux Refinery Does Care, and will continue
.... .... tinman70068, 09/06/11 12:46 PM

Since I have been working for Meraux refinery, I have seen that the current management team is committed to keeping the environment safe, and the neighbors safe. PooPoo stirrers like Suzzane (who needs a good you know what) and the other guy, if forget his name are just using old out dated info to stir crap. It's rediculous some of the calls we get. The other day someone called to complain about the smoke coming from the marsh fire. Why call us? She insisted that we make it stop coming in her vents. WTF is wrong with you people. If you seriously don't want or like a refinery, then stop buying gas, and driving around in your cars. Go buy an electric vehicle if you feel so strongly against the refinery. Most are causing a stink because they are trying to get money that is what it is all about. The oil spill was a result of Katrina, not the deliberate act of Murphy. I get so frustrated with these ridiculous call sometimes I just want to chock you mofo's. Meraux refinery will con tinue to operate in a safe and environmentally friendly way no matter who owns us. Its like a family there and I'm glad to be working for them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

EPA Renewable Energy Proposal

Renewable Energy Production Proposal

The EPA is evaluating the feasibility of siting renewable energy production on potentially contaminated land, at the former Kaiser Aluminum waste pit site in Chalmette.  The proposal calls for a possible renewable energy production site, such as a bio-refinery. Yet, a records request for a copy of or a link to the proposal was denied by EPA because "the proposals are not publicly available."

The St. Bernard Parish Council is considering accepting donation of the contaminated land.   
.6. Motion to accept the land donation of the parcel of ground for Brownsfield Project with the Regional Planning Commission. (Administration)

This parcel of land is located just east of the National Historical War of 1812 Battlefield and Cemetery at Chalmette.  A summary of the Phase I environmental assessment of the Former Kaiser Aluminum waste site, also available on RPC’s Brownfields website:, describes the small acreage available. EPA 's proposal for renewable energy in St. Bernard Parish.   Louisiana DEQ's letter of support.   Phase II environmental assessment has been done and will be presented to the council in the near future.
Given the poor zoning, lack of appropriate buffer, exceedingly high sulfur dioxide levels, and Louisiana DEQ's recent recommendation to EPA on St. Bernard Parish's air quality non-attainment status for sulfur dioxide, this contaminated land should probably not be used for another refinery, bio or not.  This would just be another example of how clean fuels create dirty neighborhoods.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Live and Vote Home

Opinion from Laura  in N. O. W. citizen's group
 on the Lee Zurik Investigations   into Voter Fraud in St. Bernard

I don't know about the rest of you, but I really find it hard to feel

angry about this voter fraud situation.. Many of them are still "in"

the parish. They work here, they spend the better part of their day

here. All of their alliances and loyalties, political, personal,

financial, and heartfelt are still here in St. Bernard.

Instead of criticizing these people for voting in St. Bernard, I

understand their kinship and their love for the place that they "all"

call home. Katrina is "STILL" destroying our lives!! Many people I

know who left the Parish are discontent in the foreign communities in

which they find themselves. They miss the neighbors, communities,

Beauty, kinship and love that will not be found anywhere but St.

Bernard. So my criticism is for their living anywhere else. And I have

to agree that it is time for them to accept the reality of their

decision to live anywhere else.

So all of our wayward voters who decided to live outside of St. Bernard,

now is the time for them to take stock of their lives and make another

decision if necessary. If they want to have a say... to vote... for

issues and candidates that make up St. Bernard Parish... then they have

to live in St. Bernard Parish. We have plenty of homes and properties

to accommodate all of them!! Come home....

Live and Vote in St. Bernard!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

sulfur dioxide levels in Chalmette today

Ch_Vista community air monitor in St. Bernard Parish reading exceedingly high sulfur dioxide readings, viewable on Louisiana DEQ website, right hand side menu, ON AIR icon, select Site Data , select Ch_Vista, enter date

Today's sulfur dioxide levels (Nov. 16th) have already reached 375 ppb, well above the EPA one hour health standard of 75 ppb sulfur dioxide.

Click on picture for larger view
Below are the November 15, 2011 readings which peaked at 350 ppb sulfur dioxide

Click on picture for larger view

UPDATE:   Air Quality Readings for Sulfur Dioxide at Ch_Vista 11/26/2011  -  299  ppb SO2

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cypress Swamp to be restored

Mark Schleifstein - Times Picayune
In 1956, before the completion of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the Central Wetlands contained about 8,000 acres of swamp, 7,600 acres of freshwater marsh, 4,000 acres of brackish and salt marsh, and more than 1,000 acres of forest. The MR-GO cut through several natural ridges in St. Bernard Parish, funneling salt water into the area, where it killed cypress and freshwater marshes. By 1978, only 28 acres of forest remained.

This is the very same Central Wetlands which DEQ allows an oil refinery to discharge untreated wastes during "emergencies" and malfunctions. Even just the smallest portion of such contaminants has a long term effect on the estuaries and ecology of the wetlands.

The refinery compliance history demonstrates difficulty in handling as little as a four inch rain. The waste treatment plant becomes overloaded and the wastes are stored in the rain water ponds, which are also inundated in such rain events. The refinery releases into the local canals which discharge into the nearby Central Wetlands. Even absent of rain, a malfunction of the waste treatment plant will bypass treatment and send wastes into the canals (  as in the July 2005 malfunction which sent over 5 million gallons into the neighborhood canals).

And this is completely avoidable with added storage tanks along with pipes to the river or even with pipes to the treatment ponds at the river. The DEQ needs to evaluate the current situation and determine which alternatives would completely avoid chemical discharges into the canals and nearby wetlands.

All this commitment and effort to restore the Central Wetlands should not be fouled by one industry.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

overflow problems

refinery floods neighborhood (around the 4:14 minute mark)

refinery flooding releases oily wastes through municiple pipes

waste ditch and ponds

The waste streams are allowed to flow from south of Judge Perez, north to an earthen ditch within close proximity of the Church which hosts vacation bible school for children.

The frequency of releases to the ponds and canals, even before Hurricane Katrina, is reason enough to require more monitoring and permit limits with a means for practical enforcement.  Absent of any sampling, the solution to this pollution is dilution in the ponds, and that is not acceptable.  If anything, the DEQ should require Murphy Oil to clean and restore the receiving waters of this waste, similar to how Murphy Oil clean Newton Creek. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Louisiana DEQ Meeting

DEQ Question and Answer Session
Thursday November 10, 2011 @ 6pm
St. Bernard Parish Council Meeting Room
8201 West Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, LA

RE: Valero (Murphy Oil) Water Discharges
plan for wastewater treatment malfunctions and
storm and hurricane preparedness plans

Whether you like to fish or canoe the 40 arpent canal or the Red Fish Cup Tournament from the Marina on Paris Road, your concerns for our water's quality needs to be heard. 

Aside from the overflow problem on the processing campus side that floods the adjacent neighborood and re-occurred as recently as July 18, 2011, (  a June 2009 overflow shown here around the 4:14 minute mark), most concerns focus on all the oil waste and other chemicals being washed through our neighborhood canals.  These local canals meandor through neighborhoods on their way to Bayou Bienvenue and Lake Bogrne. The proposed master landuse plan   under consideration by the SPBG HRQL includes added fishing and boat piers to these canals to encourage resident's use of our natural resources. Yet, the DEQ permit still allows the refinery to dump into our canals.

And this is totally avoidable.  Storm water containment through adequate storage capacity, adequate freeboard, berms and existing pipes to the river would bring this facility into compliance and protect our neighborhoods from chemical exposure; protect our waterways and fisheries.

The Louisiana DEQ will hold a Public Meeting in Question and Answer Format in the St. Bernard Parish Government Council Meeting Room in Chalmette on Thursday November 10, 2011 at 6pm regarding the (former Murphy Oil ) Valero Refining Water Discharges.

Immediately folllowing the Question and Answer Meeting, but no earlier than 7pm and no later than 7:30pm, the DEQ will conduct a formal Public Comment Hearing to enter any comments into the record. Written comments may also be submitted by Monday, November 14th to  Comments made in the Question and Answer Meeting are NOT entered into the record. All correspondence should specify AI #1238, Permit LA0003646, PER20090003.

The Draft permit is accessible at these links.

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