Friday, December 12, 2014

public participation

Public Participation

The EPA organized a community group to evaluate the success of remediation [by Dow Chemical]. It met a few times, provided critical commentary, and was dropped as Dow completed its EPA required action. Over the years, this would be a familiar model of public participation. If the panel was critical, its life was usually brief. Citizen oversight of one of Michigan’s most powerful Fortune 500 companies would not be popular with regulatory authorities, elected officials or more importantly, the Dow Chemical Company...... Dow itself had (has) a community advisory panel. Its goal was (is) to get honest feedback from the community as to how it was performing as a corporate citizen. Mary Sinclair, Midland citizen, science and communication adviser to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, didn’t last a year on the panel. She recognized that the company was not forthcoming in information requests or responsive to suggestions – she left.

Is this yet another exercise in futility or is it the finality so many of us
hope has arrived?

Do we participate in good faith? Eight years of Dow’s tactics of denial and delay, eight years of frustration at the state’s impotence. Can the federal government succeed? Can the CAG succeed?

Each individual active in this clean up will have to answer these questions for themselves. I for one am not prepared to let any opportunity to hold Dow and the EPA accountable slip away.

Terry Miller, Chairman Lone Tree Council

Saturday, November 15, 2014

no off site impacts, no reportable quantities

no off-site impacts at the plant and no emission permit exceedances

February 2013 releases at Valero cause sulfur dioxide levels to spike (readings of 103, 109, 128, 138 and 180 ppb)

October 2013 crude oil spews onto St Bernard Highway (workers evacuated into neighborhood, no offsite impacts)

March 22 2014 ROSE unit startup (no reportable quantities, no violations of permits)

April 21 2014 Benzene saturation unit explosion (the issue is the emissions are aromatic; it’s only a detonation)

November 2014 MDH unit startup and blown hole in the south flare (Valero noticed a tear in the flare and this will decrease combustion efficiency; MDH unit makes kerosene and diesel)

November 2014 startup of new hydrocracker vessel   …………………………………………………………..

Thursday, November 6, 2014

what happens without sidewalks

school students in Louisiana are forced to walk in the street because not all neighborhoods are afforded sidewalks

tragically students in Orleans Parish and more recently in Breaux Bridge have been killed while walking in the street to the bus stop.  Residents of Breaux Bridge hope the incident lease to changes, like sidewalks

"It's the time to come together as one for the greater good of all of the families that have suffered in this endeavor."" Councilman Menard also told us that although state law doesn't require sidewalks. Since he's been in office he has mandated that every new sub division or development have sidewalks.

In St Bernard Parish, instead of maintaining the newly installed FEMA project sidewalks, parish officials have allowed removal of sidewalks, even claiming an agreement allows sidewalk removal as long as the sidewalk is not currently used as a bus stop. Officials would not answer why students must now walk in the street to get to the bus stop nor have they responded to a public records request for a copy of the agreement to remove sidewalks.

One property owner that has been allowed to remove sidewalks is Valero Energy, a profitable corporation that recently announced third-quarter 2014 earnings of $1.1 billion.  

Certainly they can afford to be a good neighbor and replace sidewalks and improve pedestrian safety!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

benzene monitoring proposal is flawed

Public Comment to U S EPA on the proposed "Refinery Rules" 
more information on submitting public comments here

Dear Gina McCarthy,

Global Community Monitor is writing in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to strengthen refinery air toxics emission limits and monitoring requirements to protect public health. The EPA must reduce emissions of toxic chemicals from refineries based on the best scientific understanding of the harm this hazardous pollution can cause, especially for children, women of child bearing age and the elderly.

Let me say first we support the bulk of the new rule, except for the flawed so called "fenceline monitoring" section that fails to take into account many important facts as well as the latest technologies which deliver data that actually could inform corrective action by a refinery.

Today I'd like to focus on a huge basic flaw in your staff proposal to use "benzene badges" to absorb two weeks of air at a time to obtain an average of benzene exposures.

As I am sure you are well aware, the largest US refineries are located in clusters in port areas of Texas and Louisiana. In most cases, and there some insignificant exceptions, the refineries are located directly adjacent to one another and share a common fenceline on at least one boundary if not several.

The refinery used for the journal article written to prop up this flawed proposal, was curiously the Koch Brothers West Refinery in Corpus Christi, TX. It is the only refinery in Corpus that does not share a fenceline with its neighbor refineries. Please have your staff justify this choice and rationale to not also study the vast majority of cases where refineries are adjacent.

Obviously, with undeniable variability of wind direction and changes over a two week period, no data of any value would inform corrective action because you can never know which of all the fugitive sources in a refinery contributed to the exceedence of of the risk based threshold. If you add in additional large sources of one or more refinery, there is little that can be said if anything about which refinery could be asked to "correct" the excess. As you know, refineries are skilled at blaming the other guy.

Another reason, there is no value in 2 week averages of benzene in many refinery areas like Corpus, Houston, Lake Charles, Port Arthur, Wilmington and throughout the region is that the refineries are located adjacent to at least one major freeway. This means these refineries could just blame the freeway and object to the plan to correct!

Thanks for listening, Gina!



Denny Larson
Executive Director
Global Community Monitor (GCM)

Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.
Nelson Mandela

Thursday, September 18, 2014

EPA regs for oil refiners

Comment on EPA proposed refinery rules

  • In general, refiners are still in the mode of resisting new government regulatory initiatives and are not acknowledging that reducing pollution is not only good for the environment, but also has an economic return. It is not sufficient to just address current operations in order to establish effective emissions reduction programs. Improvements must begin at the plant design stage in order to eliminate or minimize flaring by integrating flare gas recovery systems, design for smooth start-up and shutdown of process units without flaring, and designing coking units with completely enclosed coke handling systems, to mention a few important areas. Procedural changes and new technology must also extend to plant maintenance. For example, improved monitoring and repair of the seals on floating-roof tanks is essential, as is the use of modern infrared sensors for detecting leaks at valves, pumps and flanges.

Robert Levy                                                       

Chemical engineer, Board of Directors of Air Alliance Houston

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Letter to all CEO's of Louisiana Petroleum Refineries

August 29, 2014 Letter from Pete's Articles to CEO's of all oil refineries in Louisiana



I am writing to each of the major gasoline producing refinery CEO’s which have crude oil refining facilities in Louisiana to plead with you to help us with more availability of conventional, non ethanol gasoline in Louisiana.

Approximately three years ago, there were five (5) refineries in Louisiana that manufactured and sold non ethanol gasoline to service stations through the State’s 64 Parishes.  These were Murphy Oil Refinery in Chalmette, Chalmette Refining in Chalmette, Marathon Oil Company in Garyville, Placid Oil Company in Port Allen and ConocoPhillips Oil Refinery in Westlake.  These refineries provided an ample volume of non ethanol gas to meet consumer’s needs throughout Louisiana.  HOWEVER, since that time, Valero purchased Murphy Oil in Chalmette and now manufacture only ethanol fuels at that facility, Chalmette Refining discontinued the manufacture and sale of non ethanol gas from their refinery in early June and lastly, Marathon Oil discontinued the manufacture and sale of non ethanol gas from their Garyville refinery in mid 2012.   READ MORE

As you know, south Louisiana is highly susceptible to hurricanes.  In 2012, Hurricane Isaac hit south Louisiana and flooded over 6,000 homes in St. John Parish where I live.  Two weeks before the hurricane’s path was realized, I took my garden tiller out of storage to till a few rows in my small home vegetable garden to prepare for planting my fall crops.  When I pulled the recoil to start the engine, the recoil rope broke. I took the tiller to a small engine repair shop near my home. When I entered the shop yard, I counted over 50 gas powered home generators in his yard awaiting repairs.  The shop owner told me that customers began flooding him with request to repair their generators when the path of the hurricane became known since their generators would NOT start.  The last time they used them in the last power outage with ethanol gasoline and they would now NOT start.  He had to hire extra workers (in addition to his normal staff of four) to take the carburetors apart and clean and re-assemble them as quickly as possible so the customers would have the generators available when power was lost from this hurricane.  And, this was just ONE repair shop. This is just another example of the problems we experience in Louisiana, particularly in south Louisiana when conventional, non ethanol gasoline is not readily available.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

another pleasant valley sunday


update:   "no unusual incidents"
9 3 2014
9 1 2014
8 31 2014
8 30 2014


Friday, August 22, 2014

sidewalks and school children

In July 2011, FEMA agreed to replace ALL the sidewalks in the neighborhoods; ALL the neighborhoods.  We are tax paying residents who are caught in a bad deal between our local government and a corporation, and all we want is what any other neighborhood in St Bernard would want, including sidewalks. In a recent council meeting, it was discussed that all neighborhoods would have sidewalks and that it didn't matter who removed the sidewalk -- the parish, a contractor, a resident --- that the sidewalk would be replaced in ALL neighborhoods in St Bernard Parish from one end to the other.

Murphy Oil was to work in coordination to complete the sidewalk replace project (for the sidewalks illegally removed in demolitions in the former buy-up area).   A few months later Valero purchased Murphy and promised to complete the sidewalk replacement project and actually began work. On both Jacob Drive and Despaux Drive many sidewalks were replaced from Ohio Street to St Bernard Highway.

Work continued until the level of the Mississippi River rose to a point where the Army Corp of Engineers stopped construction within so many feet of the levees.  Valero PROMISED to continue the work once the water receeded,  but never did.

Today, August 22, 2014, instead of replacing what was illegally taken, Valero is taking more sidewalks and at the corners of school bus stops.

SOS  School children need sidewalks to get to the bus stops!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Roundup Recall on Horizon

Tell the EPA and FDA: Immediately suspend Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.

Sign the petition 

Petition to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg:
Evidence is mounting that the massive use of glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, is making us sick at alarming rates. Immediately suspend the use of glyphosate.

    Tell the EPA and FDA: Immediately suspend Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.
    In case you weren't sure yet if the massive use of the herbicide glyphosate - also known as Monsanto's Roundup - was cause for concern, here's the sobering takeaway from an MIT senior researcher who just conducted a review of the stuff:
    "I’m certain at this point that glyphosate is the most important factor in an alarming number of epidemic diseases.”1

    The introduction of Roundup in 1973 has corresponded with a rise in conditions including celiac disease (gluten intolerance), autism, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson's and others.2

    And its use - along with the rates of many of these diseases - has gone stratospheric over the last 15 years, with the approval of Monsanto's GMO "Roundup Ready" crops specifically engineered to tolerate massive exposure to glyphosate. Roundup is now used all over the world on staple crops like wheat and soy, and has become the most widely used herbicide in the US.

    Despite these trends, the EPA and FDA still consider glyphosate to be relatively safe and harmless - based largely on unpublished, industry-produced studies. That position is looking increasingly dangerous, and possibly wrong.

    Tell the EPA and FDA: Immediately suspend the use of Monsanto's Roundup until it can be proven safe.

    Of course - just because two trends match does not mean those two things are related. And in the eyes of the scientific process, just because something looks, swims and quacks like a duck, doesn't make it a duck.

    But in the case of glyphosate, there are many reasons to believe it could be related to higher incidence of many diseases.
    Glyphosate doesn't just kill weeds. It is an antibiotic (which kills the gut bacteria that make up a significant portion of our immune system and digestive function), a chelator (which strips the body of nutrients needed to fight disease other essential functions), an endocrine disruptor (which affects hormones and leads to birth defects), and impairs the liver's ability to detox (allowing heavy metals to build up in our bodies). And we put nearly 200 million pounds of the stuff on our food each year!
    Even worse, the so-called "inactive" ingredients in Roundup may be amplifying the toxic effects of glyphosate by orders of magnitude. One new study found Roundup's overall concoction to be up to 1000 times more toxic than glyphosate alone.3 Yet Roundup's approval is based on tests of only glyphosate, and does not take into account it's possible interaction with other chemicals EPA considers safe.
    Another recent study has challenged Monsanto's claim that glyphosate doesn't accumulate in our bodies -- the cornerstone of our government's finding that Roundup is safe -- finding glyphosate levels in breast milk up to 1,600 times higher than the level Europe allows for individual pesticides.4
    Part of the challenge in finding an absolute link is that long range controlled studies are difficult to conduct - partially because of Monsanto's efforts to control research money and block information.
    So we, in effect, have become the subjects of Monsanto's Roundup experiment. There is ample evidence to suggest that this backward system of pesticide approval may be having terrible implications for our health.
    The EPA and FDA should immediately suspend the use of Roundup.

    1. "Your Food Is Poisoning You," Outside, May 12, 2014
    2. "Is Monsanto’s Roundup linked to a deadly kidney disease?," Grist, May 1, 2014
    3. "Major Pesticides Are More Toxic to Human Cells Than Their Declared Active Principles," Bio Med Research International, February 26 2014
    4. "World’s Number 1 Herbicide Discovered in U.S. Mothers’ Breast Milk," Sustainable Pulse, April 6, 2014

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

    benzene monitors

    Residents from Texas, California, Louisiana and Michigan attended the hearing in suburban Houston. It was the second and final public hearing resulting from a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project on behalf of U.S. communities near oil refineries. The suit, filed against the EPA, argued that the federal agency was more than a decade late in reviewing and updating toxic air standards for refineries.

    A spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, and oil and gas lobbying group, testified Tuesday that EPA has determined that fenceline communities are shielded with an "ample margin of safety" from refinery emissions.

    Port Arthur, comprised primarily of people of color, is located in an area where cancer rates are 15 percent higher among African Americans than they are for the average Texan. And mortality rates from cancer in Jefferson County where Port Arthur is situated are 40 percent higher, according to the Texas Cancer Registry.
    In Houston, Texas, the largely Latino neighborhood of Manchester is home to the Valero oil refinery and lymphocytic leukemia rates are 56 percent higher for children. This issue is not limited to these communities alone.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    where should the children play?

    still think making the green zone buffer "Recreational" land use is a good idea?

    Petroleum Refineries across the United States have been found to emit a lot more chemicals than previously reported.  EPA's proposed Refinery Rules seek to monitor benzene at the fence line and reduce emissions from flaring, storage tanks, Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction activities, and from delayed coker units.

    Live Updates from Today's EPA public hearing: 

    Sunday, August 3, 2014

    Refinery Rules Proposal

    EPA's Proposed Refinery Rules

    There is a public hearing in Houston Texas on Tuesday August 5th on EPA’s proposed changes to regulations for petroleum refineries (“Refinery Rules”).

    The proposed Refinery Rules address toxic air emissions from flares, storage tanks, Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction activities (SSM activities), and coker units, and seeks to require fence line monitoring for Benzene.

    UNFORTUNATELY, this action does NOT address emissions from coker units at Calcining operations…… only coker units at Petroleum Refineries!! To protect our health, we need upgraded pollution controls on ALL coker units.

    It does however require fence line monitoring of air concentrations, including BENZENE, but only provides a rolling-annual average based on bi-weekly readings. Wouldn’t it be more efficient for the plants and more protective of our health if residents had access to the daily maximum benzene readings in our community?

    The proposal eliminates exemptions on emission limits during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction.  These exemptions have allowed refineries to emit toxic air emissions above the permit caps.  Discharges through pressure relief devices will be considered a violation.

    Submit Public Comments to EPA by August 29 2014.

    Email and include DOCKET ID NO. EPA HQ OAR 2010 0682 in the subject line

    Or go online and follow the online instructions for submitting comments (Reference DOCKET ID NO. EPA HQ OAR 2010 0682

    One of the local petroleum refineries in St Bernard has been flaring with nasty odors for days now, with disturbing vibrations to houses and the nuisances of obnoxious noises, and the return of that mysterious "white dust". This is reportedly from shutting down multiple units, including the ALKY unit, over several days for a planned maintenance and turnaround. Are you tired from all the racket and feeling sick from the nasty odors? It doesn’t have to be this way. Demand upgraded control technology for your health, because no amount of fines will restore it.

    ""One of the excuses companies use is that their facilities release certain premature and post-operational emissions when they are firing up, shutting down, or when they break down. This is part of doing business, they say, so it shouldn’t count under the permit caps, even though it fouls up the air quality of the people who live near their facilities.Roughly three dozen states allow for this type of pollution under rules called “startup shutdown malfunction,” or SSM, by those who track this and who care about people’s health. It’s been going on for roughly four decades, and environmental justice groups want it stopped, like, yesterday.""

    Saturday, August 2, 2014

    hydrofluoric acid catalyst

    Valero Energy Meraux petroleum refinery (according to response to noise and vibration reports) is shutting units for a turnaround.  It is also reported that the ALKY unit and the FCC unit will be permanently shut, that the plant will only do minimal processing for gasoline, and the hydrofluoric acid catalyst is being decommissioned, adding the neighbors will not longer have the HF odors.

    Really?   which specific odor complaints were traced back to the dangerous HF acid and how long were residents exposed?  should we seek medical treatment? should we obtain bone scans to detect damage?

    HF has poor warning properties. The odor threshold for humans is 3 ppm and irritation of mucous membranes begins at 5 ppm. I you can smell it, chances are the concentration is too high and immediate steps must be taken to lower it. Fluoride ions migrate through the body destroying tissue until lodging in the bones. If you suspect you have been exposed to hydrofluoric acid, seek immediate medical attention, even if you do not feel pain.

    Inhalation of HF vapor may cause swelling in the respiratory tract up to 24 hours after exposure. Person who have inhaled HF vapor may need prophylactic oxygen treatment and should be seen by a physician as soon as possible.

    USD Environmental, Health and Safety Department

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    land use in St Bernard: planning for unhealthy communities

    not the most suitable location for recreational land use

    St Bernard Parish DRAFT Comprehensive Land Use Plan  yet again recommends recreational use of properties adjacent to the Valero Energy oil refinery in Meraux, Louisiana. 

    How safe is that?

    How can we compel EPA to "address the real-world health risks faced by children and communities living near refineries" (Cynthia Babich, executive director of Torrance, California-based Del Amo Action Committee


    Eric Kayne at Earth Justice

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    when less is more

    "Low salinity marsh experienced more than twice as much land loss by percent than high salinity marsh."

    "The failure of low salinity wetlands was focused in the interior regions of Breton Sund, the western Chenier Plain, and the more exposed regions of the Birdfoot and Wax Lake Deltas." (from Howes et al 2010)

    Presentation to Council May 6 2014 around the 54:30 minute mark in link

    Councilman Cavignac working on most pressing issue facing St Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes.

    Centerpiece of State master plan for coastal restoration contains several large scale river diversions for St Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes. 

    Salt water and brackish marsh areas were able to withstand hurricane damage while fresh water diversion area at Caernarvon withstood more damage. 

    "Low salinity marsh experienced more than twice as much land loss by percent than high salinity marsh."

    "The failure of low salinity wetlands was focused in the interior regions of Breton Sund, the western Chenier Plain, and the more exposed regions of the Birdfoot and Wax Lake Deltas. (from Howes et al 2010)

    the promised land gain is not occurring

    and its not land that stands up to surge, not land that protects us

    the problem is not the sediment, its the delivery system; it brings economic loss with fresh water influence and puts coastal towns under water

    render wetlands more susceptible to storm surge, changes the drinking water as far north as Orleans

    Cost Effective Study does not include all information

    The science is flawed in the cost of diversions vs the cost of diversions, according to a study by the Louisiana State University.

    Initially dredging seems more expensive, but all the costs are not considerd, including and additional $1.8 billion for operation and maintance and additionally the economic impact of loss of estuaries due to diversions

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    are gasoline prices artificially high?

    Gasoline prices not expected to drop

    … as refiners continue to see strong demand for gasoline exports, don't look for big savings on the cost of filling up your tank any time soon.----- John W. Schoen, NBC News

    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    Flag Etiquette and Respect

    Flag Etiquette and Respect

    A Louisiana elected official once said "the flag of Texaco flies over the Louisiana State Capitol." Right now that flag is flapping in the face of every citizen.  --  Robert Kennedy, Jr.


    The flag of any company should not fly higher than the State of Louisiana flag.



    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Genuflecting to Big Oil

    To greed, all of nature is insufficient  ---  Seneca

    By Robert Kennedy Jr
    Waterkeeper Alliance

    Genuflecting to Big Oil's pressure, the industry's chief indentured servant, Governor Bobby Jindal, is leading an attempt to kill the suit by orchestrating the replacement of several members of the levee authority. Jindal's caper violates state laws that guarantee that body's political independence. Urged on by the Governor, crooked Legislators are currently advancing bills to undermine the levee board and retroactively kill the lawsuit. Louisiana is a classic corporate kleptocracy. There is no sunshine in Baton Rouge ; Like so many cockroaches Big Oil's state house sock puppets are working their mischief in the darkness with no accountability or public participation.
    A Louisiana elected official once said "the flag of Texaco flies over the Louisiana State Capitol." Right now that flag is flapping in the face of every citizen. Tax-hating governor Jindall now wants to spend tens of millions of dollars of tax payer money to plug oil canals which companies are required by law to plug themselves. That money pales beside to the $50 billion cost of the state's Master Plan to protect the coast. Jindal's funding proposal caper will protect his oil industry patrons and stick the public with the bill: taxpayers will cover the costs of damage caused by oil companies.
    A recent poll by the nonprofit, Restore Louisiana Now, found that 90 percent of state residents believe the oil and gas industry should pay it's fair share, and 75 percent believe the governor has no business shielding the oil and gas industry from the costs of its misbehavior.
    As Seneca observed "To greed, all of nature is insufficient".
    The above photo of Chalmette, LA's Val Reiss park in District C is the area inundated with one million gallons of crude oil when a storage tank ruptured in the aftermath of the floods from the failure of the Federal Levee system in 2005. 
    We've come a long way thanks to the residents and to their civic association Rediscover District C; yet the same facility is still allowed to discharge oily waste water into our canals, which drain into the Central Wetlands shown in the photo.  About two weeks ago, a heavy rain event, not uncommon in our region, resulted in the treatment ponds being let open for over 30 hours of discharge into our canals!

    And continued rain water runoff issue into another neighborhood canal.


    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Petcoke regulations


    "The lion's share" of the sulfur dioxide nonattainment issue in Chalmette, Louisiana is said to be from the Rain CII coke plant, where petcoke is processed for the aluminum industry.

    Petcoke is becoming more and more of an issue in the States. 

    Time to get your regulatory guard up, America --- Mike G.

    Petcoke is not just a health issue, however ................

    Due to state and federal restrictions on burning petcoke that make it nearly impossible to sell domestically, most of it is sold overseas. California exports 128,000 barrels of petcoke every day, mostly to China, where it is burned as a fuel source for electricity.

    Both the California state government and the federal government officially consider petcoke a “byproduct,” not a waste product, so California’s emissions laws don’t apply to these overseas sales. That means companies in the business of refining oil can sell their petcoke to China without ever having to account for the greenhouse gas emissions, even though burning petcoke releases 5-10% more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere than burning coal.

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    emergency flaring

    Valero Energy reports "the management at the Valero Meraux plant reports the refinery was in normal operations", not aware of any operating conditions related to noise, did receive calls related to smoke, but not noise.

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    another spill


    this is where i spend my day
    sometimes looking for food
    or for frolic and play
    the water is so dark now
    i cannot see a thing
    i am so hungry
    i cannot move my wings
    what happened to
    my homeland
    where i live and breed
    what will happen to
    the fish
    upon whom i feed
    i am feeling so tired
    i cannot lift my head
    in this muck and this mire
    i do not want to be dead. 

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    2 Million Public Comments

    Interesting illumination of 2 Million Public Comments

    "Our children and grandchildren can learn about you as the leader who helped turn the tide, or the one who turned his back on them."
    and reference to James Hansen comment clarified
    ….. if we’re going to now open up this other source – unconventional fossil fuels –  the science tells us we cant do that….
     if we think we can use that unconventional fossil fuels ……  the world is just ignoring the science……..
    this is game over,  if you don’t understand that we have to leave that extremely large amount of carbon in the ground

    Monday, March 17, 2014

    wide load delivery on east highway

    is this for another expansion? or for the gas liquids recovery? we may never know

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Residentially used property and PAH pollution modeling

    No Neighborhood should be expected to endure industrial levels of  exposure.

    St. Bernard Parish is already disproportionately burdened with pollution that could be reduced with the installation of control technology.

    Jacob Drive is a residential street in a pedestrian friendly neighborhood just blocks away from the community's only high school.  It is not uncommon for children to play, ride bikes, or walk together with adults, including walking along Jacob Drive.  Jacob Drive is a school bus route, as is East St Bernard Highway at Jacob. Jacob Drive is home to family, occupied dwellings and is adjacent to the dozens of family homes and apartments on Despaux Drive. Many residents dwell in the family orientated trailer park just across the highway.

    Jacob Drive is "off property"; it is NOT part of the industrial plant.  The plant "fenceline" is well East of Jacob Drive, East of the municipal storm water canal, and even further east than the pipeline easement now used for parking.   The plant "fenceline" is East of this parking area. So, even the parking area is "off property".

    A recently published pollution dispersion report  shows the PAH emission in our neighborhood. Any modeling results for Jacob Drive should be considered off property and in an area where long term exposure to emissions is reasonably anticipated. It is the opinion of concerned citizens that more modeling is required, because the modeling results demonstrated greater than or equal to 75% of the standard at several off property receptors, with some results in the 90 percentage. 

    To protect public health, Louisiana DEQ must require this next step and Valero Energy should be a good neighbor and provide for it.

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), also known as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, are potent atmospheric pollutants.  Some compounds have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. Naphthalene is the simplest example of a PAH. PAHs occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass).(Wikipedia)

    This house is adjacent to the area on Jacob Drive where model results exceeded 75% of the standard, also shown in a blue circle area in Figure 7 below.

    Below in Figure 7, the area shown in the blue circle on Jacob Drive is adjacent to occupied homes and has some results in the 90 percentage range.
    page 17 of 19 in report

    Other houses are adjacent to this "blue circle" area, and the pollutants do not magically stop at the circle.

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

    hydrogen sulfide

    Hydrogen sulfide


    The 10am reading today for hydrogen sulfide H2S was 10 ppb at the Joe Davies elementary school.


    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    watchdog defanged

    "Business is important, but there should be a balance between the regulated community and the environment,” Ms. Wilson said. “It’s all out of balance here.”

    She and others said they were told to stop writing Notices of Violation to polluters, which can prompt fines, and instead to issue a Notice of Deficiency, which she likened to a state trooper giving a warning instead of a speeding ticket.

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    second take

    As if ExxonMobil’s monstrosity in Chalmette or Baton Rouge isn’t having the same effect on the neighbors, Exxon’s CEO is suing about a water tower in his neighborhood.

    The partially built "monstrosity," as the lawsuit calls it, is adjacent to both Tillerson's Bar RR Ranch and Armey's property. The suit alleges that the water tower is diminishing neighbors' property values and "causing unreasonable discomfort and annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities."


    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    petcoke and coal

    Converting tar-sands oil into usable fuels requires a huge amount of energy, and much of the black gunk that's refined out of the crude in this process ends up as petroleum coke. Petcoke is like concentrated coal – denser and dirtier than anything that comes out of a mine. It can be burned just like coal to produce power, but petcoke emits up to 15 percent more climate pollution. (It also contains up to 12 times as much sulfur, not to mention a slew of heavy metals.) In Canada, the stuff is largely treated like a waste product; the country has stockpiled nearly 80 million tons of it. Here in the U.S., petcoke is sometimes burned in coal plants, but it's so filthy that the EPA has stopped issuing any new licenses for its use as fuel. "Literally, in terms of climate change," says Stockman, "it's the dirtiest fuel on the planet."

    Read more:

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    air quality and hydrogen sulfide

    Higher than the daily recommended hydrogen sulfide levels 

    UPDATE:  On January 23 2014, hydrogen sulfide levels in neighborhood measured 30 ppb.  In the State of California, this level of hydrogen sulfide would violate the health standards.

    St Bernard Parish residents have been exposed to more hydrogen sulfide than the daily exposure level recommended by the EPA.  Hydrogen sulfide is a gas which causes deleterious effects at chronic low level exposures of 0.0014 ppm (1.4 ppb).  H2S can cause genetic damage, plus serious and permanent central nervous system damage. [1].
    Health effects from chronic low level exposure include the burning and tearing of eyes, cough, shortness of breath, and for asthmatics, difficulty breathing.  The effects may be delayed for several hours, or sometimes several days, when exposed to low level concentrations.  Chronic exposure causes eye inflammation, headache, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, digestive disturbances and weight loss. Researchers found the following demonstrable symptoms resulting from chronic exposure to H2S:  changes in brain density, abnormal neurobehavioral function, headache, altered mood states such as depression, fatigue, and tension, memory loss, pronounced deficits in balance and reaction time, dizziness, insomnia, overpowering fatigue, and reduced sense of smell.
    Children are among the most susceptible to this poison gas. It is unacceptable for communities near oil refineries and many others to have to continue suffering the ill effects of H2S when the technology to control H2S emissions is available and affordable.
     EPA should address adverse H2S impacts based on evidence of harmful exposures in numerous communities and its toxicological effects at low concentrations such as non-cancer effects and emerging evidence that H2S is a genotoxic agent, meaning it damages DNA

    Link to monitors in St Bernard Parish

    Ventura Drive (Valero Energy)


    “Since the respiratory tract is the major target organ of hydrogen sulfide toxicity, humans with asthma, and the elderly and young children with compromised respiratory function represent sensitive subpopulations.  Due to the serious toxic effects associated with exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide for very short durations, all exposure should be avoided.” 
    “The daily inhalation exposure to the human population that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime, the RfC, has been determined to be 0.002 mg/m3 or 1.4 ppb.”
    "As a member of the general public, you might be exposed to higher-than-normal levels of hydrogen sulfide if you live near a waste water treatment plant ....."
    Health effects from chronic low-level exposure to hydrogen sulfide

    Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sour gas effects on the eye

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    pvc pipeline

    perhaps the least hazardous of pipelines, a watering line is installed to irrigate newly planted holly bushes and  trees

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

    Ohio Moms Rock

    "Environmental activists and parents have called Disney's educational program “propaganda” for a controversial industry" and successfully demanded Disney stop its tour to elementary schools and science centers.  After pressure from moms and hard work by all  on petitions and social media campaigns, Disney withdrew from the program that is sponsored by the Ohio oil and gas industry. 

    "The sole intent of the collaboration between Radio Disney and the nonprofit Rocking in Ohio educational initiative was to foster kids' interest in science and technology. Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program," the statement read.

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