Sunday, December 20, 2015

another year of hydrogen sulfide over exposures

Hydrogen Sulfide can cause genetic damage, plus serious and permanent central nervous system damage. [1].
St Bernard Parish residents have been frequently if not consistently 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).  
The Valero Energy Meraux community monitor frequently measures hydrogen sulfide levels in our neighborhoods above 2, 3, and even 4 or 5 ppb!!  Valero records H2S readings in ppm; as an example, 0.003 ppm H2S is 3 ppb.  Chronic (or daily) exposure to H2S at levels of 0.0014 ppm or higher are unacceptable.  The Louisiana DEQ community monitors also frequently measure such levels of hydrogen sulfide, but records the H2S readings in ppb.
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.

“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.”

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.

  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.” 
 Health effects from chronic low-level exposure to hydrogen sulfide

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

fenceline monitoring

"If we’re going to give industry permits to release these emissions, then our goal is to have all of their emissions monitored. Whatever they’re permitted to release, we want it to be monitored, that’s our goal. I’m excited and optimistic about the new ruling. But this is not over by any means.” ------    Statement from Martha Huckabay, Vice President of St. Rose Community One Voice, regarding the EPA's new Refinery Rule

EPA's new Refinery Rule requires "fenceline monitoring" for some but not all emissions.  Benzene, a known carcinogen, will be monitored "at the fenceline" but where is the fenceline?

Let's keep the refinery fenceline where it has been for decades ---  way on the other side of the makeshift parking lot, and not in our residential neighborhoods.  When benzene levels measure an "actionable" level then the plants will be required to invest in technology controls to reduce benzene emissions. Allowing the fenceline to move away from the fenceline and into our neighborhoods could allow the plants to record lower benzene levels than actually emitted.

We have enough issues with the makeshift parking lot and fenceline; let's not add more benzene when new refinery rules were require less

Monday, November 16, 2015

surface water and storage tank issues

Troubles in the tank farm were mentioned again in a recent report noting leaked oil from piping in the former footprint of storage tank, Tank 250-3. This oil spill affected at least two egrets, according to Valero Energy’s report to Louisiana DEQ in a public document (EDMS 9962291).

Tank 250-3 was demolished by Valero Energy in 2012. However on September 29 2015 a sheen, stained soil, and two oiled egrets were reportedly observed around the section of pipe once connected to the tank. Clearing nearby vegetation revealed an intermittent leak that exceeded “Reportable Quantity”.  It is unclear how long the pipe was leaking; however, residents have repeatedly reported to LDEQ strong and distinct fuel and diesel odors during rain events.

This is not the first time overgrown vegetation was noted as presumably concealing problems that perhaps should have otherwise been detected during required inspections.  In May 2015 adjacent neighbors reported the refinery flooding their backyards.  Upon inspection, after “clearing significant vegetation”, a breach was found on the east side of the refinery pond and the damage was attributed to burrowing nutria (EDMS 9778750).

Valero Energy’s Meraux refinery was recently cited by LDEQ for not performing required monthly tank inspections from April 2014 through June 2015 (EDMS 9963957).  A 2014 LDEQ inspection at the adjacent terminal and dock found Valero Energy failed for three years to conduct annual interior float roof inspections (EDMS 9845166).

During a rain event in June 2015, Valero reported discharging nearly 7,000 gallons waste water into the neighborhood canal due to a power outage (EDMS 9811488). This neighborhood canal, known as the 40 arpent canal, is frequently fished by residents, and is slated in the new master land use plan for recreational use, including kayaking and canoes, and fishing piers. Other unauthorized discharges and reports from more recent rain events in late Summer and early Fall 2015 --- if any --- along with water samplings have not yet posted to LDEQ EDMS.  Heavy rains are expected again this week.

Valero’s predecessor, Murphy Oil, agreed in August 2015 to a settlement with the State of Louisiana for just under $23,000 in fines for the December 9 2009 release of oily water into the same neighborhood canal, the 40 arpent. The 40 arpent is pumped into the adjacent Central Wetlands, which is home to sensitive estuaries and marsh. The $22,988 amount is said to represent the DEQ’s enforcement costs; nothing was proposed to improve neither the water quality nor the quality of life in the surrounding community.  Lessons learned or business as usual ??

Valero Energy’s report for the Sept 29 2015 spill zone states that six days after the initial discover, during the evening of October 4th, a small cofferdam was completed around the leak, containing the release. A clamp was also installed, greatly reducing flow. A larger, engineered clamp was being fabricated with expected installation mid October.   It is unclear how long the pipe was leaking; however, residents have repeatedly reported to LDEQ strong and distinct fuel and diesel odors during rain events.

From the LDEQ EDMS document: The pipe in question was partially submerged by rainwater that had accumulated in the footprint of the former Tank 250-3.  Solid boom was deployed to prevent the oil from spreading. Fire fighting foam and hydrocarbon metabolizing enzymes were applied to stained areas to minimize volatilization and odor. Oil was removed from the water with skimmer and vacuum trucks.

The pond was pumped down and the water transferred to the Refinery’s wastewater treatment plant. A small cofferdam was constructed to isolate the leaking pipe from the larger pond.  Once the pipe was fully exposed a clamp was installed over the leak. This greatly reduced the rate of the leak. A larger, engineered clamp was being fabricated. Installation expected later that week (mid October 2015).

Oil staining was observed on two egrets that had landed in the affected spill zone. Bird deterrent flashing posts were installed to prevent further contact. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was contacted and two bird specialists were sent to the refinery. They recommended that one of the birds be captured and cleaned. As of October 6 2015 attempts to capture the bird have been unsuccessful.

There were no notifications made to the nearby neighborhood. Valero reported there were no offsite impacts. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

save our wetlands

The proof in dredging to save our wetlands.

Captain Devin 2013-05-02

"In 1991 the Caernarvon Diversion was created in an effort to restore the marsh by building land, benefit the commercial fishing industry and somewhat emulate what the Mississippi used to do years ago. This is great except for one thing.
It didn’t work."

"Now our problem has been compounded in that the Army Corps of Engineers wants to build a larger diversion at Braithwaite, this one capable of putting out 250,000 cfs of water. That was not a typo! You read it right. That is a quarter million cubic feet of water per second flowing into our saltwater marsh. If Caernarvon did that much damage what would a diversion of that magnitude do at Braithwaite? Left in the hands of our government, it would destroy the marsh."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

refinery rule for benzene monitors

Although this new refinery rule is good progress and a step in the right direction, we still have a long fight ahead of us. This rule will monitor for benzene, a known carcinogen.  Our problem in St. Rose has been release of the chemical hydrogen sulfide – a neurotoxin. If they’re not allowing hydrogen sulfide to be monitored, there’s obviously a bigger problem.   

Statement from Martha Huckabay, Vice President of St. Rose Community One Voice, regarding the EPA’s new Refinery Rule 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

settlement for water violations

Murphy Oil agrees to a $22,988 settlement for the oil discharges into local waters.
Amount is said to represent the Department’s enforcement costs.
There is nothing proposed for the St Bernard community or the water quality.

The agreement includes settlement for the December 9, 2009 oil discharge into the local neighborhood canal, known as the 20 arpent canal, and other violations, such as failure to sample various outfalls at different times, spill into river, and failure to calibrate or perform maintenance procedures at other times.

Link to LDEQ settlement document 9880360 dated August 2015 

In more recent time, the new owner,Valero Energy, reported a discharge of 6,900 gallons of “treated” waste water on June 8, 2015 "due to a power outage".

LDEQ EDMS document 9811488

The more things change the more they remain the same.

Friday, August 28, 2015

WDSU 10 Years Forward

WDSU - TV    10 Years Forward:  St Bernard Parish

"It's time to celebrate. We've got a lot of good things going on. You know, we lost a lot, but we've gained an awful lot. Again, you were here, you know what it looked like. It's a remarkable difference now."  -- Parish President Peralta

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Story

Concerned Citizens neighborhood association in St Bernard Parish, Louisiana, began as a means to have our voices heard in District C postKatrina. Our area captain was clearly instructed in early 2006 to 'not invite' those returning, rebuilding residents from the streets closest to the refinery. Shortly afterwards, Murphy Oil's tank farm expansion plans public noticed and the neighbors decided to form the association to address quality of life issues; more specifically those of our community's environment. CCAM members began to join with other neighbors for neighborhoods to effect the ever changing decisions that empact our community by encouraging citizen participation and providing advocacy for all residents who are committed to return, rebuild, and remain in St Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

Later we learned of the council resolution for a letter of no objection to the Army Corps of Engineers for Murphy Oil to construct this tank farm expansion on what seemed to be lower lying lands with natural waterways or wetlands. The tank farm expansion is slated for an area adjacent to established residential neighborhoods and seems to have no improvements for spill containment, storm preparedness, nor soil subsidence. So much for lessons learned.

Returning in 2005 after hurricanes Rita and Katrina, parts of our neighborhoods were not included in the oil spill maps. Murphy Oil executives went door to door to greet residents and give assurances their area had no oil, the household items were not contaminated, it was safe to clean out one's own home, and there would be no buyouts. The area was repopulated during Fall 2005 and some neighbors were actually fortunate enough to celebrate the Christmas holidays inside restored homes.Two years later a voluntary buyout would be one of the many options of a class action suit, Turner v Murphy Oil. The defendant's attorneys stated at the Fairness Hearing that the buyout properties would be a green zone buffer and the newspapers reported this as greenspace. At Community meetings and Council Meetings, it was continually and consistently purported as "greenspace". Any talk of industrial buildings and other commercial use of the land were firmly disputed by refinery representatives who insisted it would be "greenspace, that was the plan". People made agreements based on this understanding that it is this empty greenspace, now in existence, which is to function as the buffer.

Demolition of the buyup properties caused restored homes to have structural damage claims and yet another wake of destruction on our residential streets. Illegally placed cement truck weigh stations and less than best business practices added insult to injury. Only half of the sidewalks have been restored and the children are left to play in the same streets that some propose to add increased industrial traffic.

Further illuminating the local politics and poor zoning, heavy industry is still allowed within 100 feet of residential properties, however, new rental laws require single family dwellings, when rented out, to be specially permitted and spaced 500 feet apart. Noise ordinances have been updated for music speakers but not enforced for industrial sources.

Our Future, who knows. Let's just hope the levees are rebuilt to a higher level of integrity.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

speed bump

Michigan v EPA  March 2015 Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States

The SCOTUS ruled 5 -4 the EPA failed to consider costs and remanded to lower court. 
Power plant regulation was found appropriate because the plants' emissions pose risks to public heath and the environment and because controls capable of reducing these emissions are available. 

 Regulation was found necessary because the these risks to public health and the environment have not been eliminated by existing Clean Air Act requirements. The D C Circuit court had upheld the EPA's refusal to consider costs in this decision (of whether regulation is appropriate and necessary). "Statutory context supports" that EPA was required "to conduct three studies, including one that reflects concern about cost", and EPA agreed "that the term appropriate and necessary must be interpreted in light of all three studies." The SCOTUS found "EPA must consider cost -- including cost of compliance -- before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary. It will be up to the Agency (EPA) to decide how to account for cost."

: "No regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good." -- Justice Scalia  {editorial note, this should be applied to neighborhoods around "Clean Fuel" projects, where Clean Fuel Creates Dirty Neighborhood}

""EPA expressed disappointment at the ruling but noted that the regulation “was issued more than three years ago [and] investments have been made and most plants are already well on their way to compliance.”
The Sierra Club agreed that the ruling couldn’t reverse decisions energy companies have already made to comply.
“Practically speaking, today’s decision won’t revive the fortunes of Big Coal or slow down our nation’s transition to clean energy,” said Mary Anne Hitt, director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “Most utilities have long since made decisions about how to meet the standard. Only a few dozen coal plants are still operating today with no pollution controls for mercury and air toxics and no clear plans to install them.”""

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thanks Sierra Club !!

Environmental Law Alert - Going, going… EPA Eliminates Another Source of Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Exemptions from Clean Air Act

36 States Ordered to Remove SSM and Affirmative Defense Provisions from Their Rules
Alert   6/12/2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

EPA will not be able to approve Louisiana SIP as proposed for 1-hour SO2 standard

EPA has “identified a number of instances in which the State’s plan does not follow the EPA’s April 23, 2014, Guidance for 1-hour SO2 Nonattainment Area SIP Submissions and deviates from the modeling protocol approach previously agreed upon between EPA Region 6 and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Unfortunately, we do not believe we will be able to approve the SIP as proposed. The enclosure to this letter details specific issues and recommendations we have concerning the proposed attainment demonstration SIP.” 
“We appreciate your work on the proposed attainment demonstration SIP and are committed to working with you to address the issues we have identified to ensure the plan is protective of public health in St. Bernard Parish.”       

EPA's comments on Louisiana's State SIP for St Bernard Parish Sulfur Dioxide:

If the State is unable to submit a plan that EPA approves, within 18-  and 24- month milestones from non-approval, EPA must develop a FIP (Federal Implementation Plan) and apply sanctions to St Bernard Parish. Sanctions could include, limited highway funded projects and grants, and, increased emission offsets for new or modified major industry in St Bernard Parish

On April 1 2015 Louisiana submitted its State SIP for St Bernard Parish Sulfur Dioxide:

We need a State SIP with appropriate modeling and permit limits that ensures a violation cannot occur. It is not enough just to now have a promise for reduced production rates, a higher stack, and a monitor without violations. We need federally enforceable limits to protect the air we are forced to breathe. 

Basically, it seems EPA is concerned with what was excluded from the modeling used for the SIP and what was excluded from emissions data for Rain CII calcining plant.  Based on EPA's comments, LDEQ did not include:

-           all four of Rain CII’s permitted operating scenarios. “LDEQ forwarded a document that summarized Rain CII modeling of these four scenarios but it does not appear to follow the parameters previously agreed upon”  The modeling only addresses ONE of the FOUR permitted operating scenarios at Rain.

-          It does not include “Enforceable limits” to address all operating conditions at Rain CII….  It does not clearly state pounds per hour for each stack and does not ensure the limits are to be complied with on a short term rate, such as a 3-hour average.

-          It does not include All major sources within 20 km; “LDEQ should follow the previously agreed upon procedures in the modeling protocol version from late January 2015”

-          LDEQ also did not include minor sources within close proximity to the violating monitor, but EPA previously agreed to this. There is no further information on what these minor sources are or how small business maybe effected in the future.       

-          The background monitor value was not calculated correctly. “LDEQ’s use of an annual average value for 1-Hour SO2 is not acceptable."   “This is a modeling demonstration to show compliance with a one hour standard. As a result, the modeling demonstration needs to show that under worst case conditions (i.e. the most difficult hours of the year) the NAAQS will be protected. As a result, it is not appropriate to use average background conditions as proposed in the SIP.”

-          Excluded modeling receptors inside Chalmette Refinery, considering Rain’s close proximity to ExxonMobil's Chalmette Refinery, “there should be a separate  run for each of the scenarios in the attainment demonstration that evaluates a set of receptors within the Chalmette Refinery”, but that excludes emissions from the Chalmette refinery.

-          Apparently, LDEQ has permitted several EGU turbine facilities in the area that have the capability to burn fuel oil with no hours per year restriction. The largest source is Entergy's Michoud facility in New Orleans East (although New Orleans was not included in the non-attainment designation). The Michoud facility has a permit allowable of over 39,000 tons per year SO2, but no restrictions on hours per year when the power plant switches from natural gas to fuel oil.  The SIP must either include restrictions in an Administrative Order or a permit……  otherwise, this could affect the ability of the area [St Bernard] to achieve and maintain attainment..

-          The modeling protocol is undated and has significant differences from the protocol that EPA approved January 2015.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Chinese sheetrock, Chinese flooring, and now Chinese Methanol

The Louisiana DEQ issued a permit to a Chinese company for a Methanol plant in St James Parish.

Ask no questions, tell no lies


The permit application claims lower emissions than what would require a review for more stringent pollution controls, but fails to include the emissions calculations in the permit record. Even EPA cannot obtain a copy and LDEQ maintains it is not necessary. Thankfully, two environmental groups filed a Petition to EPA to object to the permit.

Louisiana DEQ issued the permit anyway because the emissions data “ were certified as true by a responsible company official and a professional engineer. “ by the Associated Press  June 01, 2015   St James methanol plant challenged by 2 environmental groups


Environmental Injustice

The Chinese company had filed for expedited permits "to construct and operate a plant on a sprawling 1,100 acres — situated between a high school, two churches and an assisted living facility for senior citizens."  “We never had a town hall meeting pretending to get our opinion prior to them doing it,” said Lawrence “Palo” Ambrose, a 74-year-old black Vietnam War veteran who works at a nearby church. “They didn’t make us part of the discussion.”  China’s Louisiana Purchase: Who’s building a methanol plant on the bayou? Al Jazeera investigates ties between Louisiana and the Chinese government in a proposed $1.85 billion methanol plant January 26, 2015 5:00AM ET   by Massoud Havoun


The parish has since then voted to tax themselves to move the community high school and seem to think that’s enough responsibility for driving people out of their homes.  “School officials are planning to move St. James High School from the heavily industrialized location on the west bank of the parish to a 54-acre tract of land near La. 20 and La. 3127. A parish master plan has indicated more corporations will move to the already industrialized area and drive homeowners to other residential areas. “  By Kate Stevens January 21,2015 St. James School Board seeks to place bond proposal before voters. 


“But Black residents in the southern Louisiana region where the plant is to be built, St. James Parish, didn’t even find out about the project until after local and state officials and Chinese diplomats decided to move forward with it last July—helped substantially by a $9.5 million incentive package from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.”   Typically, LDEQ air permit application copies are available at the public library and online if you know  about it and know the project number assigned. A notice is published in a local paper, but the average citizen is unaware local officials have already made agreements. China Is Building a $1.85B Methanol Plant in ‘Cancer Alley’ Louisiana But No One Bothered To Inform Its Predominantly Black Community   -- January 29, 2015 Posted by Nick Chiles




EPA ozone regulations

EPA and Ozone regulations. 

Senate subcommittee hearing December 2014.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review NAAQS standards (national ambient air quality standards) for ozone and for 5 other pollutants every 5 years to ensure they protect public health.
The current 75 parts per billion ozone standard has been too high since the day it was finalized by the Bush Administration back in 2008. That decision by the Bush Administration was so out of line that the scientific advisory committee actually pushed back after the fact, wrote a very unusual letter to Administrator Johnston telling him that he had made a mistake and that the number could not be justified. Given the priorities of that administration the scientific advice was not reckoned with so that’s where the standard was set, and since then since then we have had false comfort that the air we breathe everyday is safe. The revised standard is a significant improvement; it is based on extensive scientific research, including over a thousand studies published since the 2008 standard. 

Industry claims that an ozone standard that protects health will devastate businesses and the economy. When you look at history over and over again those claims have been shown to be exaggerated and usually the contrary is true. In terms of cost and benefits, the benefits of this rule in health and other areas are three time the costs. EPA analysis show that Health benefits translate into economic benefits, excluding California (which already complies), would be 4 billion to 23 billion higher than the costs in 2025. 


Thursday, June 11, 2015

lessons not learned

It’s hurricane season, and not all lessons learned are lessons implemented. so how  prepared are the refineries for rainfall totals and storm surges? how often are they supposed to inspect the berms, levees, and dikes? how long had this been going on? apparently they don't inspect enough 
At approximately 4:30pm on May 7, 2015, Valero received a call from a resident of a nearby trailer park reporting standing water along the rear fence line of his back yard. After clearing significant vegetation, a small breach was discovered in the east dike wall surrounding the [Valero Energy Meraux] refinery’s fire water pond. This pond consists primarily of Mississippi River water pumped into a lined impoundment. The damage to the dike appears to be the result of burrowing nutria.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

why wouldn't Louisiana support the clean power plan

Around the 21 minute mark:

“If your congressmen or governor or senator or stakeholder does not agree that this program is going to reduce green house gases the way you want, there is still reason to consider this program seriously, because you will get huge reductions in smog forming emissions, in fine particulates which are killing people, and in other air pollutants which are causing a lot of significant health problems throughout the country. “  --- Bob Becker, executive director NACAA, observations on the EPA Clean Power Plan

Monday, June 8, 2015

EPA Clean Power Plan and Louisiana House Resolution 49

Louisiana House Concurrent Resolution 49  Scheduled for call to Senate Floor June 8 2015

Urges and requests that EPA withdraw the proposed guidelines for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Urges and requests that, in the event EPA adopts the proposed guidelines, the governor and the attorney general use every means at their disposal, including taking legal action, to prevent the guidelines from being implemented


Why States Rejecting EPA’s clean power plan could face bigger rate hikes:  Here's a rundown of what might happen if states refuse to cooperate [with the EPA Clean Power Plan] ––and why it might be in their best interest to comply with the EPA’s rules.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

when the companies own the town

But it's never easy to criticize a company that plays such a huge role in a town's life. In the 2004 documentary "Libby, Montana" by High Plains Films, one resident explained:
"[W.R.] Grace was on the school board, Grace was on the hospital board, Grace owned the bank. And when you talked about dust control here and ... what [the dust] was doing harmful to these people here, the first thing to come out of their mouth was 'You gonna close that mine down, and you gonna put all these people out of work?' Well you didn't have very many friends here when you started talking like that."

Friday, June 5, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015

real time monitoring

Real Time Monitoring: A Game-Changer for Industrial Fence Line Communities

by Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer, PhD

Our field experiment, known as the Benzene and other Toxics Exposure (BEE-TEX) Study, is very different from air pollution studies in the past.  The study focused on the development and demonstration of updated methods for real time monitoring and modeling of health-threatening air contaminants and air quality at the neighborhood level.  HARC and its partner research institutions, including UCLA, the University of North Carolina, and Aerodyne Research, Inc., applied the latest real time monitoring and modeling techniques to the measurement and attribution of ambient exposure to air toxics, such as the notorious carcinogen benzene.  The ultimate goal of the project is to help improve air quality and public health in those and other near-industry neighborhoods.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

for better or worse

 May 2015 Reformer unit unexpected shutdown, followed by Hydrocracker process gas flaring due to power outage, flaring at north flare

Feb 15 2015 R O S E Unit fire evacuated workers

Feb 25 gas unit had to vent to flare

Feb 12 gas unit had to vent to flare

Feb 10 gas unit had to vent to flare

Jan 9 gas unit had to vent to flare

Jan 15 2015 emergency incident amine unit

Dec 16 2014  fuel odor

Nov 28 2014 hydrocracker project startup

Nov 14 2014 flare on fire

Oct 17 2014 smoke at flares

Oct 13 2014 Fire Dept received numerous complaints of odors

Sept 8 2014 diesel odor in air

Sept 3 2014 flaring and vibrations

August 31 2014 Sheriff Dept asking about smoke from flare

Aug 31 2014 billowing smoke from flare

Aug 30 2014 flaring

Aug 28 – 29 same nasty odor in neighborhood

Aug 28 – 29  a worker’s personal hydrogen sulfide detector alarm was set off

Aug 27 flaring

Aug 27 hydrogen sulfide odor

Aug 26 sitting on the flare more frequently, odor and noise

Aug 26 - Aug 28 EPA Risk Management Inspection Report with one dozen areas of concern

Aug 16 2014 sulfur dioxide at flare

Aug 15 2014 odor in air assumption that it is Hydrogen sulfide

Aug 3 odors again, cannot be outside, headache, sinus and coughing

Aug 2 nose bleeds

Aug 1 lots of flaring

July 29 -31 sounds like an airport

July 29 flaring for extended period of time

June 25 oil sheen in river

June 2 flaring, black smoke, odors and vibration

June 2 alky unit sent to flare, event lasted until June 3

April 24 very strong chemical smell, unexpected shutdown of benzene unit

April 21 boom heard, flaring at high velocity

April 21 rumbling from flare, associated odors

April 20 unexpected shutdown SRU

April 12 putrid, nauseating odor

April 2 hydrogen sulfide odors

Feb 23 2014 flammable gas emissions at flare

Feb 10 2014 SRU shutdown

Feb 7 sulfur dioxide at flare

Feb 7 SRU shutdown

Feb 2 sour garbage natural gas odor, nauseated, coughing, loud noise, burnt smell, getting worse

Feb 1 strong sulfur odor, getting worse, not able to have outside ventilation, two weeks prior the odor infiltrated home

Jan 18 no windows opened in house last three days and can still smell chemicals in air. Air quality is terrible

Jan 8  2014 flaring with obnoxious noise and pungent odors; reports of vibrations to homes  sulfur dioxide permit limits violated rates at the flare  

 and these are just the ones reported to LDEQ

Monday, March 23, 2015

workers matter

Susan Criss, The Daily News

"These companies invest in chamber of commerce activities and advertising dollars to prove their support of their neighboring communities. They send representatives to chamber and charity events to show they care. Talent, resources and dollars are spent promoting their corporate good will and good citizen images.

Yet they refuse to spend money maintaining refinery machinery in decent enough condition to prevent their workers from being killed. ……………………………….. in Texas City on March 23, 2005 the BP plant exploded in one of the worst refinery accidents in United States history. Fifteen workers died and more than 180 were injured. Some of the injured were burned beyond recognition.

[reports] … revealed a culture of complacency toward worker safety at that refinery contributed to the disaster. Worker fatigue resulting from excessive overtime hours was another problem cited.

Why are the USW members on strike? Because their workers do matter."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

rain event flooding occurs too

Union of Concerned Scientists
February 25 2015 Gretchen Goldman, lead analyst center for Science and Democracy

“Our results were startling,” said Christina Carlson, the UCS report’s first author, “all five refineries analyzed face risks from storm surge and Valero’s Meraux facility may even be inundated by 2050 because of sea level rise alone.

Here in St Bernard Parish, Louisiana the Valero Meraux refinery had repeated reports of processing campus flooding during afternoon rain showers, which can total up to eight inches and cause overflow flooding from the refinery into our neighborhoods.  The last couple of years have been droughts so its not easy to determine if so called improvements to storm water management have actually made a difference.  We wont know until the next rain event flood.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

worker safety

United Steelworkers issue strike notices in Louisiana

The steelworkers say the sticking point doesn’t involve wages, but rather staffing and workloads, health and safety issues and health care.

“We’re committed to reaching a settlement that works for both parties,” said USW Vice President Tom Conway, “but adequate staffing levels, worker fatigue and other important safety issues must be addressed.”

“Our members are speaking loud and clear,” said Gary Beevers, USW International vice president who oversees the union’s oil sector. “If it takes a global fight to win safe workplaces, so be it.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

alarms and siren

Valero Energy's Meraux petroleum refinery signaled alarms for plant workers due to an unexpected fire in the R O S E unit, which was reported extinguished within ten minutes.

Residents were the first to notify local fire and sheriff departments of the reported worker evacuation of Area 2 of the refinery.  If the plant alarms automatically signaled the local authorities, that would bring about much needed improvements for community safety.

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