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

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