Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Recent comments have eluded to Valero Energy’s Meraux plant seeking community projects to contribute to.  The need for a skate board park and bicycle trail head comes to mind.

With a lack of public input mechanisms to suggest community projects, perhaps it’s worth reiterating previously requested projects:

1) The Villere Plantation's brick drainage pump ruins have been entrusted, through a conservation easement  to the St. Bernard Parish Historical Society. Unfortunately, the conservation easement is scheduled to expire when the EPA CD is completed.   This wooded area on the former Villere Plantation grounds would make a wonderful bird and wildlife sanctuary. Bald eagles are known to nest in this area. It would also be a suitable location for a Central Wetlands observation deck north of the forty arpent canal.  

The Villere Plantation was the site of the British Invasion during the war of 1812. The Villere Plantation was listed as a War of 1812 Preservation Priority in the 2007 American Battlefield Protection Program Report to Congress. "The priorities indicate which sites, in the opinion of the National Park Service, merit immediate preservation action, which need ongoing preservation action, which require additional study, and which are best suited for commemoration rather than preservation."

2)  Buy Back Program; allow homeowners  to increase lot sizes and give residents the opportunity of re-establishing our neighborhood feel.  Place conservation easement on the remaining land titles to provide commitment to a truly protective green zone buffer.

3)  Protect our children and pedestrians and resume the sidewalk replacement program to bring vacant lots to ADA compliance. Include the sidewalks from Ohio Street to Jacob Drive so residents can safely continue to ride bikes or walk along Jacob Drive.

4) Respect our families and our privacy and stop neighborhood surveillance tactics and invasive security cameras. Keep transient workers from trespassing, and provide workers with an evacuation route which does not include our neighborhoods.

5)  Improvements to increase the plant’s storm water capacity and to change the plan for waste water malfunctions, so that use of neighborhood canals for emergency discharges or overflows is prohibited.  Additionally prohibit use of the plant’s western rain water ditch for waste water malfunctions. This “west ditch” connects to the municipal storm water system which discharges into the nearby central wetlands.

6)  Appropriately fill the vacant lots to avoid mosquito infestation and virus transmission.

7) Provide public access to real time fence line monitor data, especially for benzene (not two week averages with data available months later). Continue the ambient air monitor station and real time access to its data beyond the EPA CD conclusion. Provide public access to the rain fall totals measured at the station.

8) Provide real time information during plant emergencies and other incidents.

9) Investments to upgrade the Meraux plant to BACT pollution controls.

10) Investment in operational adjustments for noise muffling and installation of noise abatement technology.

11) Comply with our local code and performance standards for nuisance, vibrations, noise, dust, night work, truck traffic, screening fences, dumpsters and parking lot litter.

12) A good neighbor demonstrates respect on a daily basis for the people who live on the other side of the fence line.  Merge the CAP and the emissions data meeting to allow the general public to attend its CAP meetings and allow information from CAP meetings to be made available to the public.

Monday, December 12, 2016

U N Human Rights Day

As residents of St Bernard Parish we have the human right to secure tenure, including the right to equal access to all the information before decisions are made. And we have the right to association without neighborhood surveillance.  And we have the right to access basic services such as side walks and transportation, including safe bus stops with sidewalks. The powers that be seem more concerned about relocation of trees than with how people were treated beneath human dignity when being forced from their homes and trailer parks.

U N Human Rights Day  Dec 10 2016

The human right to security of tenure includes:
  • The human right to adequate housing.
  • The human right to an adequate standard of living.
  • The human right to security, including enforceable legal security of tenure.
  • The human right to protection from forced evictions and the destruction and/or demolition of one's home including in situations of military occupation, international and civil armed conflict, establishment and construction of alien settlements, population transfer, development projects and international events.
  • The human right to full equality between men and women.
  • The human right to freedom from discrimination based on sex, race, or any other status.
  • The human right to equal protection of the law and to judicial remedy in case of violation of the right to adequate housing.
  • The human right to freedom of expression and of association.
  • The human right to education and access to information.
  • The human right to participate in public decision-making.
The human right to Security of Tenure is prerequisite to the full realization of the human right to adequate housing, which includes:
  • The human right to choose one's residence, to determine where and how to live, and to freedom of movement.
  • The human right to livelihood and land.
  • The human right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
  • The human right to a safe and healthy environment.
  • The human right to access to resources, including energy for cooking, heating, and lighting.
  • The human right of access to basic services, schools, transportation and employment options.
  • The human right to freedom from arbitrary interference with one's privacy.
  • The human right to affordability in housing so that other basic needs are not threatened or compromised.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

HCU repairs

flaring and hydrocarbon odors attributed to mechanical issues with the hydrocracker unit which was shutdown

Update 12/12/16  Although initially reported to residents on November 29 2016 that there was a unit shutdown and were emitting mainly hydrogen, the Valero report to LDEQ indicates over eleven thousand pounds sulfur dioxide emitted.  Valero also reports no impact to air quality.

1 day ago -  UPDATE  -Valero Meraux refinery HCU repairs may finish next week -sources ... HOUSTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp may complete repairs next week to the hydrocracking unit (HCU) at the company's 125,000-barrel-per-day ...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

CPRA Community Conversation

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH                    5:30pm to 7:30pm at DOCVILLE
Includes Dinner provided by Restore or Retreat and Open House for resident input

more info

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Community Conversations & Dinner

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH                    5:30pm to 7:30pm at DOCVILLE
Includes Dinner provided by Restore or Retreat and Open House for resident input

 Hosted to inform development of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan

As part of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority - in partnership with numerous community partners throughout coastal Louisiana - will host a series of Community Conversations during the Fall to update residents on the master plan and receive valuable input and feedback that will be used in developing the draft plan. 

 The event will take place at Docville Farm
5124 East St. Bernard Highway, Violet, LA 70092
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.           FREE and open to the public.

Learn more about:

Includes dinner, provided by Restore or Retreat

An open house for residents to learn more and provide valuable input


Thursday, October 27, 2016

public library

If you ever want to end democracy and destroy America, you begin by denying citizens the chance at accessing information and opportunities for education. A people who cannot learn will always be oppressed -- just look at everywhere from Soviet Russia to North Korea.

--NOLA_Fredo comments on Library

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

elevated sulfur dioxide levels in neighborhood --- 4,000 ppb SO2

In late August 2016, a  sulfur recovery plant unit tripped, caused interruption to electrical power, and elevated sulfur dioxide levels for 21 hours.

Sulfur dioxide levels measured downwind in the neighborhood were reported to be 4 parts per million [ppm] on Despaux Drive, which is FOUR THOUSAND parts per billion [ppb].  Average readings were reported at less than 0.5 ppm [500 ppb], however, there is no public access to the data which comprised those averages or how the averages were calculated.
LDEQ document 10368357 dated Sept 2nd 2016 recently posted to EDMS.  As of Oct 18 2016 this document was still NOT AVAILABLE either in EDMS or through a public records request dated Sept 24 2016.

There was no notification or alerts made to the community. It is unclear if the future fence line monitoring data will be available in real time to the public, or if the public will continue to have to wait weeks for information.  A Sept 24 2016 public records request thru LDEQ for a copy the incident report was still not available by mid-October.  The report posted sometime later in October to LDEQ EDMS, although it is dated September 2, 2016.

This type of public health issue is the reason residents previously requested public access to real time data, real time notification of incidents at the plants, and allowing the public to attend the plant's CAP meetings.  These same concerns were voiced three years ago about another incident. It was on October 25 2013 when residents were told there were no issues, yet the plant report indicates worker's were monitored for exposure to benzene and the offsite benzene was reportedly detected at 0.015 ppm or 15 ppb. 

Local officials who are interested in sustainable solutions to St Bernard's air quality and public health issues should demand no less.  At the very least, they should obtain the actual readings taken during this August 2016 event.

LDEQ should review its public records procedures and not allow "inspectors" to hold information.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

update crude oil tank car projects

"The community of Benicia, [California,] in the crosshairs of history, made one of those decisions that will make a difference for the country. They stood up and said the safety of our communities matters.”

The Sept 30, 2016 STB [Surface Transportation Board] "decision appears to be a game-changer in the oil-by-rail story. With it, perhaps now more politicians will agree that “the safety of our communities matter” — much more so than oil company profits."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

neighborhood surveillance

"In the refinery towns where I’ve worked for 17 years, the police and private security have consistently harassed me and those I work with. When we stop near a refinery and take a picture of a burning flame or black cloud of pollution, we know to snap fast. A police officer or oil industry security guard will pull up and tell us what we’re doing is illegal, even though it’s not. The law may be on our side, but these security forces are not. It’s often not worth risking a dangerous encounter in a small southern town to stop and record pollution. What we’re recording is another form of violence – this kind the long, steady attack of carcinogens and neurotoxins that ruin the health and the lives of those in Louisiana, usually African Americans, who are unfortunate enough to live cheek to cheek with Big Oil’s refineries."   -   Anne Rolfes, Founding Director Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

crude by rail news

Interesting developments in Benicia, California, where a small city's local council struggled to uphold its right to decide land use and protect its residents' health and safety.  The local council denied "a land use permit to bring in volatile Bakken and Tar Sands crude oil from North Dakota and Canada by train".   

Hopefully this company doesn't  attempt the same crude by rail project in Chalmette.  Although Chalmette has similar tax base dependencies, we struggle to find apparent prosperity, while  the poverty rate, especially for children, continues.

excerpts from The Benicia Independent article by Grant Cooke

Which is why Valero pushed so hard to transport volatile Bakken crude by rail cars through the densely populated Sacramento corridor and cram the trains into Benicia and a refinery that is not designed or equipped to deal with them. The industries, the refineries and all connected to the fossil fuel era, know that the incredibly lucrative period when oil was king and black gold flowed from the sand is coming to an end.

Bringing this back to Benicia, we see a city that is dependent on Valero for tax revenue and its governing process glimpsing a new reality. Small cities like Benicia that have been so dependent on the fossil fuel industries for so much and for so long, struggle to change. Other cities like those in the deindustrialized Midwest that have suffered sudden collapses of their major companies and tax bases have had to reinvent their economic drivers or just blow away. But it’s hard for a city like Benicia with its apparent prosperity and ease of living to understand that its fossil fuel base is in decline and that the future is elsewhere.

Grant Cooke is a longtime Benicia resident and CEO of Sustainable Energy Associates. He is also an author and has written several books on the Green Industrial Revolution. His newest is “Smart Green Cities” by Routledge.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

night time flaring

mid September night time flaring (Sept 18, 2016)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Public Meeting Florida Corridor

PUBLIC MEETING Thursday September 8 2016 4pm-7pm
Public Comments due September 28 2016

UPDATED  9/13/2016:    Presentation at Public Meeting

Other Documents and Maps from DOTD at bottom of link

Florida Avenue Project (H.005720)

Florida Avenue Project Environmental Assessment (EA)
St. Bernard and Orleans Parishes
State Project No. H.005720
Federal Aid Project No. H005720

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) will be conducting a public meeting in open house format for the above project. LADOTD is proposing to construct a new roadway bridge adjacent to the existing Florida Avenue Bridge over the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal (IHNC) in Orleans Parish. In addition to a new bridge, the improvements include: upgrade and extension of the existing Florida Avenue corridor from Elysian Fields Avenue (LA 3021) to Paris Road (LA 47) into St. Bernard Parish; operational improvements along existing Tupelo Street; and several North-South alignment options are being considered for a connector between Florida Avenue and St. Claude Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is to present the proposed project to the public and to solicit comments about the project from the public. The meeting will include a looping presentation that describes the project as well as stations where attendees can speak informally with representatives from LADOTD and the project team. Comments and suggestions will be invited from all interested parties to help insure that the project team addresses the full range of environmental issues during the EA study process.

The meeting is scheduled:

4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
St. David Catholic School Gymnasium
1230 Lamanche Street
New Orleans, LA 70117
(Enter on Caffin Avenue)

All interested citizens are invited and encouraged to attend. Should anyone require special assistance due to a disability to participate at the public meeting, please send a request at least five working days prior to the public meeting by mail, email, or telephone. Written and verbal comments will be received at the meeting. Additional written comments emailed or mailed to the address shown, if postmarked by Monday, September 28, 2016, will become part of the record of this public meeting. Comments must include name and address of person making comment. Please see the contact information listed below:

Florida Avenue Project
HP.O. Box 56845
New Orleans, LA 70156



Monday, August 8, 2016

where not to put a park

Time and again, we have seen the lengths the administration and council will go to satisfy the demands of the plants while hiding the truth from the people, who deserve to know what other plans they are hiding.                                               repost from 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

where not to put a park


where not to put a park

by sbcitizens, 09/17/13 6:46 PM

don't put a park in the oil spill area; its too close to the tank farm and contaminated air; that's why the air monitor is in that area, its bad air.

don't put a park next to the solid waste ditch and ponds; there is a required exclusion zone for solid waste areas up to 250 feet or 500 feet and that part of the oil spill property is where nothing is supposed to be.

don't put a park where special interests groups are forcing the park on others.

don't put a park where the streets are going to be removed or where the street lights are not maintained.

put a new park where kids and old people and family and neighbors will be safe and protected, where people live close enough to just walk to the park and not have to drive. put a new park where the people who live in that area want one.

can we even afford another park? don't think we would even be talking about another park until all the previous neighborhood and recreational parks are renovated. so, why are parish employees advocating for a park in the oil spill green belt? are they advocating for the oil company? if you receive a survey for where the next park ought to go, think about what that park is supposed to be and why certain parties would push to spend limited resources on something we don't need, don't want, and would be liable for anyway.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

no zoning changes, no trees

zoning change seemed traded for ball park in what residents think is a quid pro quo donations for zoning change

shortly after the council approved a zoning change for Valero's administration building on Ohio Street, it is slowly being revealed that councilmembers have been discussing Valero's funding of a ball park in District C in the area of the oil spill, reminiscent of the zoning change for trees trade by Murphy.  

reposted from Tuesday, March 16, 2010

no title

Playing politicians against survivors instead of taking responsibility for failing to implement its own hurricane preparedness plans, and with little to no humanitarian aide to residents while gifting generous donations to politicians post crude oil spill, Murphy Oil adds insult to injury in its proposal to use residential homes for its own gain. Although presented as a transient contractor's parking lot, Murphy Oil admits it really wants heavy industrial zoning for future usage. Future heavy industrial usage not just on the north side, but the south side as well.

Industrial and Commercial Usage of residential properties in this area are a determent to the residents who have returned, provide nothing towards the safety of the community and lowers the buffer while rewarding an unjust enrichment for an incident of their own negligence.

Encroachment, incursion, a taking, you name it what you want, the result makes the parish further liable.
It's our land, we'll use it as we do, if you please. [We'll do what we d*** well please]
Denying secure tenure to victims after the worse environmental disaster, the worse land based oil spill, Murphy Oil proposes the financially strapped community raise its own funds to construct a dog park and other recreational usage where existing residual crude oil remains on the land of domiciled residents. Residents want no such thing and point out the numerous, readily available parks and parkways throughout the parish, which would be better suited for these suggestions.
Accepting donations for trees with the implication "No Zoning Changes, No Trees", newly elected officials are pushing this lovely linear park as the best thing for the community, while not only ignoring their constituents, but also the existing facilities and economic development opportunities at .
Slicker than oil and more offensive than obnoxious smells, this proposal was rejected by residents who serve on the Council's Murphy Oil Buffer Zone Committee. Yet, the Council continues the misnomer that if Murphy were only to reveal "The Plan"-- "The Plan" which everyone but the land owners and surrounding neighbors seem to have access to -- that it could move forward --- just exactly what the council wants to move forward is unclear to those homeowners who would be asked to once again lose everything.

Friday, July 22, 2016

more or less the same

Thursday, February 21, 2008

more or less on the horizon

FROM 2008   


02/21/08 11:34 AM
The people of St. Bernard deserve to be informed by their elected officials. Residents of District C, who are and have been for many years concerned about the expansion of industrial giants and the poisonous emissions from the manufacture and refining, have indeed been lied to by their elected officials. The stone walling and lies of deception continue to this day. When even one resident asks, " what is being built here?" he has a right to be answered. Our neighbor, Murphy Oil USA is going to build a lab on the site of the old Campagna Skiff Company location. We were NEVER given an opportunity, as a neighbor or neighborhood to examine the plan, ask questions or express our concerns. To offer input now is obviously an insult. As I stated before it was a done deal. Probably years in the making between our government and that industrial giant. Encroachment. A nasty word. But it is happening. Murphy, in moving it's lab from the river side of St. Bernard Hwy (probably to expand it's plant) now finds that the location where they plan to build the new lab is not large enough to accommodate parking. They want to (ENCROACH) on to residential property. They want a zone change. After everything said about greenspace, and bufferzone. Our government continues to play along with the plan. The Murphy plan.Our parish president and council members as well as zoning and planning commissions need to remember who pays them. Or is that exactly what they are doing?

The refinery was originally located on the other side of the highway and the land behind the neighborhood was not zoned for industrial use.  Then over the years there were a series of wise decisions to allow more and more industrial zoning changes further and further away from the river and into the backyards of our community. The processing plant doubled in the 1970's and several large additions including a clean fuels process began in the late 1990's early 2000's. How did the Parish ever allow these units to be constructed so close to family dwellings??
Let's not make the same mistake again with warehouses, administration buildings, parking etc. on Jacob Drive; that land was purchased with the pretense of a green zone buffer and a good neighbor would honor that agreement.  Any other use makes the Parish further liable.
Above, EPA Region VI map of oil spill
Notice the area just west of the processing plant was not "in the oil spill" but this is the area most often pushed by parish officials to participate in the buyup.

Below map of oil spill first purported by Parish government

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday throwback

The obvious reality that oil refineries are not good neighbors (go to and contemplating expansion of one in a fragile wetlands ecosystem, knowing that sulfur dioxide is the principal precursor to acid rain and the risks to human health, is irresponsible and ultimately a formula for long-range health and environmental costs we can’t even begin to envision.

We’ve all driven through and, if possible around, cities or towns that choose to chase smokestacks for their economic vitality. Evidence is abundant that making billions in profits superseded quality of life considerations

For the sake of our health, we must choose wisely. It’s no longer a question of whether we can. Global indicators increasingly are telling us that the real question for the future is whether we should?!


excerpts from LETTER: Refinery expansion would degrade city

The Daily Telegram - 07/08/2008
To The Telegram:

From     — Paul D. Helbach,  Brule


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SIP Calls for excess emissions --- Sulfur Dioxide

State Implementation Plans:
The Louisiana DEQ must submit a plan to the United States EPA that demonstrates changes at the nearby plants will bring the air quality of St Bernard Parish into healthy levels for Sulfur Dioxide.
Currently, St Bernard Parish’s air quality is in violation of the one-hour health standard for sulfur dioxide [ 75 ppb ], and the amount of sulfur dioxide in our air is causing public health issues.  
Sulfur dioxide is a nonflammable, colorless gas that is heavier than air, and has a strong, pungent odor with irritating properties.
Acute exposure occurs when sulfur dioxide levels are ten parts per billion (10 ppb) for 15 minutes; it is not uncommon to have acute exposure events in St Bernard Parish.
Below is a chart of 5 minute readings from various days at the Chalmette Vista monitor, which is located at the site of Blue Bird Park playground.  The one-hour average is displayed as CDLST intervals.  The 5 minute chart illustrates the importance of keeping the one-hour average below 75 ppb, and easily shows how often the 15 minute intervals with concentrations of sulfur dioxide at or higher than 10 ppb occur.

Date Time (CST) Final Value (PPB)
July 4, 2016 16:00 6.0
July 4, 2016 16:05 4.2
July 4, 2016 16:10 4.0
July 4, 2016 16:15 3.4
July 4, 2016 16:20 25.9
July 4, 2016 16:25 67.4
July 4, 2016 16:30 19.1
July 4, 2016 16:35 14.0
July 4, 2016 16:40 22.6
July 4, 2016 16:45 35.9
July 4, 2016 16:50 83.5
July 4, 2016 16:55 66.0
5 pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   29.3 ppb 
July 4, 2016 17:00 44.9
July 4, 2016 17:05 190.8
July 4, 2016 17:10 178.0
July 4, 2016 17:15 169.3
July 4, 2016 17:20 140.2
July 4, 2016 17:25 146.5
July 4, 2016 17:30 170.9
July 4, 2016 17:35 118.0
July 4, 2016 17:40 18.8
July 4, 2016 17:45 95.7
July 4, 2016 17:50 88.9
July 4, 2016 17:55 61.5
6 pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   118.6 ppb 
July 6, 2016 16:00 62.4
July 6, 2016 16:05 8.0
July 6, 2016 16:10 5.1
July 6, 2016 16:15 13.0
July 6, 2016 16:20 84.0
July 6, 2016 16:25 97.4
July 6, 2016 16:30 31.1
July 6, 2016 16:35 37.9
July 6, 2016 16:40 147.7
July 6, 2016 16:45 29.0
July 6, 2016 16:50 16.9
July 6, 2016 16:55 55.9
6pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   49 ppb 
July 6, 2016 17:00 9.0
July 6, 2016 17:05 6.5
July 6, 2016 17:10 63.5
July 6, 2016 17:15 127.7
July 6, 2016 17:20 145.4
July 6, 2016 17:25 189.4
July 6, 2016 17:30 216.6
July 6, 2016 17:35 173.1
July 6, 2016 17:40 20.5
July 6, 2016 17:45 19.6
July 6, 2016 17:50 12.2
July 6, 2016 17:55 6.4
7pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   82.4 ppb 
July 7, 2016 13:00 11.0
July 7, 2016 13:05 131.5
July 7, 2016 13:10 31.6
July 7, 2016 13:15 60.2
July 7, 2016 13:20 164.2
July 7, 2016 13:25 38.6
July 7, 2016 13:30 29.3
July 7, 2016 13:35 56.9
July 7, 2016 13:40 25.8
July 7, 2016 13:45 24.6
July 7, 2016 13:50 285.2
July 7, 2016 13:55 54.0
3pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   76 ppb 
July 7, 2016 14:00 22.0
July 7, 2016 14:05 111.6
July 7, 2016 14:10 23.9
July 7, 2016 14:15 20.9
July 7, 2016 14:20 148.6
July 7, 2016 14:25 89.8
July 7, 2016 14:30 12.4
July 7, 2016 14:35 7.6
July 7, 2016 14:40 6.4
July 7, 2016 14:45 37.4
July 7, 2016 14:50 32.1
July 7, 2016 14:55 38.2
4pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   45.9 ppb 
July 7, 2016 15:00 252.6
July 7, 2016 15:05 137.2
July 7, 2016 15:10 38.8
July 7, 2016 15:15 101.5
July 7, 2016 15:20 38.0
July 7, 2016 15:25 52.2
July 7, 2016 15:30 9.4
July 7, 2016 15:35 7.2
July 7, 2016 15:40 7.7
July 7, 2016 15:45 5.9
July 7, 2016 15:50 20.2
July 7, 2016 15:55 142.2
4pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   67.7 ppb  
July 7, 2016 18:00 122.1
July 7, 2016 18:05 118.6
July 7, 2016 18:10 113.3
July 7, 2016 18:15 161.8
July 7, 2016 18:20 127.5
July 7, 2016 18:25 25.3
July 7, 2016 18:30 21.5
July 7, 2016 18:35 28.9
July 7, 2016 18:40 10.7
July 7, 2016 18:45 13.8
July 7, 2016 18:50 8.4
July 7, 2016 18:55 6.6
7pm (CDLST) one-hour avg   63.2 ppb  


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