Wednesday, July 18, 2012

'lessons learned'

"The threat of future occurrences like this one were reduced by including a [VOLUNTARY] buyout program to establish a greenbelt/buffer zone around the Murphy facility...."  Global Risk Solutions, page 13

EPA R6 Oil Spill Map

SBPG Oil Spill Map

Now, SBPG moves forward with a Master Land Use Plan.   Funding for this endeavor may be the Turner vs Murphy Oil Crude Oil Spill "Cy Pres" Fund, according to the Chairman of the Planning Commission.

 Councilmembers indicated they would have community meetings in each district for resident input and public information on the proposed changes to zoning and landuse throughout the parish.  The concern is what they are not making public.  Some Parish officials seek to rezone the neighborhood south of Judge Perez, just West of the Murphy facility.  The new zone would be "B", for "buffer zone" and according to one official, "buffer zone" would be defined "however we want it."  How convenient for an oil company that wants to expand into this exact area and what injustice for the residents who want to remain in the revitalized neighborhood. 

The worse of the oil spill was not even in this area, it was north of Judge Perez.  One parish official said he recently went around the south, west neighborhood speaking to residents to gauge their interest in selling to the oil company.  His indication for those not interested in this "last offer" was for The Parish to expropriate their renovated homes.  He said if SBPG accepted the "Cy Pres" funding, then  he was obligated to "fix" the buffer zone problem.  When asked what the problem was, he said it was the 500 angry people who would show up at public hearings in opposition to any zoning changes in the neighborhood.  And according to the official, that was a problem because the oil company wants a zoning change.

.The residents have a right to secure tenure :" the right of all individuals and groups to effective protection by the state against forced evictions".  This neighborhood also has the right to be treated like any other neighborhood, especially with regards to the new Master Land Use Plan's mission of preserving the integrity of neighborhoods in St. Bernard Parish.
SBPG can not afford to maintain and insure the numerous Louisiana Land Trust properties throughout the parish.  SBPG most likely cannot afford to purchase this neighborhood, compensate and relocate the residents, and maintain a green belt for the refinery.  SBPG does not have the authority to expropriate for the refinery.
Preserving the "R-1", residential zoning regardless of who owns the property or placing a conservation easement on the oil-company owned properties seems to be the only protection for this neighborhood.
[1] .

Absent from this account of EPA and DEQ efforts is the fact that no one, not anyone, reached St. Bernard Parish for five days; the first outside contact for St. Bernard Parish was on the fifth day and it was the Canadian Mounties.

The first rescue crews into St. Bernard, five days after the storm, were the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. After two to four weeks, the water was gone as were neighbors, friends, and family, but people wanted to come back to the place they call home.

Also absent from the GRS account of the Murphy Oil spill is the total number of tanks that moved in Hurricane Katrina and how long it took before taken out of service, tank farm contamination issues before the storms and results of tank damage inspections and the number of required replacement tanks.

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