Friday, May 27, 2016

Title V Petitions Process Improvement Rulemaking

EPA is expected to conduct a Rulemaking Webinar in June for EPA Rulemaking for Title V Petitions

""This proposal is expected to identify potential requirements for and provide guidance on the substance and format of title V petitions submitted to the Agency as well as requirements for the electronic submittal of title V petitions by the specific method identified in the rule. The proposal is also expected to discuss other elements around the Agency's review of petitions. The proposal is expected to be consistent with the Digital Government Strategy issued by the White House in 2012 that calls for the EPA to take advantage of new technology and improve transparency for our stakeholders, and to support E-enterprise, a U.S. EPA-state initiative to improve environmental performance and enhance services to the regulated community, environmental agencies, and the public. Furthermore, this rule is expected to be responsive to certain title V Task Force recommendations.""


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Particulate Matter Kills

St Bernard Parish Government should enforce local dust suppression ordinance regardless of regulatory permits

The other morning residents reported copious amounts of dust arising from the area around the  Landrieu Concrete cement batch plant on Paris Road, just across the highway from the new elementary school. 

Unfortunately, parish compliance personnel, while referring the matter to LDEQ, indicated they would not respond -- but would at least note the complaint in the system (whatever protection that provides)

UPDATE:   Landrieu Concrete Dust.  According to LDEQ, an inspector went out the following morning and learned that the plant "had an issue with the top hatch not being properly secured by a previous worker which caused a “blowout”". The facility was in the process of making repairs and properly securing the hatch; the repairs were expected to take a day. The plant was not operating due to the issue. 

Particulate Matter Kills and cement dust does not belong in our air.  That's why several local ordinances address performance standards for dust suppression, and no matter how pro-business we are, the performance standards should be enforced to protect the health and safety of residents.

"...the linkage between air pollution and actual evidence of progression of atherosclerosis, the underlying disease process that leads to most [heart] attacks and strokes...." is reported here at Think Progress, in an article by Alejandro Davila Fragoso.

"These effects seem to come across people regardless of their race or ethnicity, regardless of their socioeconomic status," said Kaufman, who now aims to use the data set to quantify the influence that air pollution has on heart attack rates.
Another major finding of the study is that air pollution at levels below regulatory standards also accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis. With that, the study raises questions about the quality of the air that people need to avoid environmental harms — particularly because it found that air quality has been in general improving in the United States. "Exposures are quite a lot lower than what they used to be, but we still are seeing these effects," said Kaufman. "So the question is, how low do we need to go to see the bottom of these effects?"

This is How Air Pollution Harms Your Heart
by Alejandro Davila Fragoso May 24, 2016 6:30 pm

Monday, May 23, 2016

inequitable developments

if we change the future land use map of our neighborhood, then what St Bernard Parish Government is saying is that all these commercial buildings could go into the neighborhood, and that is a step backwards

while the rest of the United States is making great strides towards environmental justice, here comes Valero Energy and a political narrative that says our neighborhood will be improved with a larger refinery footprint, even closer to houses, because their workers make a lot of money and the company pays its taxes

they want the residents to suffer the health and safety burden so Valero can  make  more money
its not moral, but its also not uncommon in a Valero community

“Valero does plan to build a new Security Building,  Warehouse, Maintenance Bays, Maintenance Offices, Safety Offices, Nurses Station, and Fire Station within the existing footprint of the Refinery in the future, when funding is available”   Valero would spend over $20 million on these buildings

Valero could be a good neighbor and construct the Administration Building within the existing footprint of the refinery. or better yet, Valero could spend the money on investments in better control technology

Sunday, May 15, 2016

maybe it's time

After nearly a decade of work by many residents from many different sectors of our community, working together to establish a proper green belt around Murphy/Valero, along comes Valero Energy's pitch :   industrial related commercial use is a better buffer than the existing green belt.

PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY MAY 24th 4pm at Planning Commission meeting in the Council Chambers building.  Petition by Valero Energy to change Jacob Drive to Commercial land use.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

third times a charm

The St Bernard Parish Zoning and Planning Commission has public noticed it’s third Public Hearing on Valero Energy’s proposal to Amend the Future Land Use Map of our neighborhood for commercial incursion via replacement of its five story Administration Building currently located on East Judge Perez Drive with construction of a new administration building on Ohio Street.

The docket item has returned to the last on the agenda list for Tuesday May 24 at 4pm in the Council Chamber’s building on Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette.

One can only guess why Valero would continue the haphazard mixing of incompatible land uses by lowering the existing buffer and bringing plant related commercial use into the green belt and onto the same neighborhood streets where Valero continues to remove our sidewalks. 

Valero Energy representatives claimed in a previous public hearing that the building will function as a noise barrier to address Valero’s propensity to violate the local noise ordinance and damage residents' hearing.

If you’ve ever heard it within your own home, you understand why some residents call it the whistling; others call it something we won’t repeat.

It’s a high pitch, continuous noise. Residents report, “It started again today around 2am, emanating from Valero Energy’s Meraux plant and disrupting an otherwise peaceful weekend.”  So, shortly before sunrise, citizens took their own noise meters to the task of documenting the nuisance .

More and more residents are concerned about hearing loss. While other residents of St Bernard Parish maybe enjoying the spring-like weather, opening windows, or relaxing on patios while reading books, it is more likely residents in the area of Valero Energy’s Meraux refinery are once again subjected to obnoxious high octave noise.

Adding insult to injury, Valero representatives also claim a noise monitor on Lena Drive demonstrates compliance. While Valero has not disclosed the location of this monitor to residents, some have observed an instrument which may be the audio sensor. If this is the particular noise monitor, it's location seems blocked between two houses and metal fencing. Perhaps Valero should provide the locations of its noise meters, access to the audio data, and an explanation as to how audio recordings of citizens is not a violation of our constitutional right to privacy.

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