I was lucky enough to be one of the community organizers last week working in Belle Chasse to protest the building of an additional coal plant in Plaquemines Parish. This coal plant proposal will be detrimental to the health and safety of a number of citizens. It will be making upwards of six trips a day carrying 100 cars of uncovered coal, the coal dust created by these cars is a threat to the safety of our communities. Because the size of the coal dust is so small once it enters our lungs our bodies don’t recognize it as something harmful to expel. It stays in our lungs, enters our blood stream and causes a number of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer, and black lung.
Another petrochemical transportation emergency in Southern Louisiana occurred in the form of 27 rail cars derailing this past Sunday, August 4th around 3:30 PM. The most recent event continuing a trend of chemical transportation disaster occurred in the rural St. Landry Parish town of Lawtell, Louisiana. According to the news reports by The Advocate, crews began replacing about 1,800 feet of track on Monday around the site of a derailed Union Pacific train that leaked a corrosive chemical and forced the evacuation of about 100 south Louisiana homes.
The residents of the Standard Heights community in Baton Rouge are working hard to get cleaner air in their neighborhood. Their neighborhood association has partnered with Louisiana Bucket Brigade – and they are doing an incredible job organizing around finding solutions to the stinky air and negative health effects caused by nearby petrochemical industry complexes. Although the nearby ExxonMobil Refinery and Chemical Plant seems like the most common offender due to its proximity to their neighborhood, there are several other chemical plants in the area that have been emitting harmful amounts of pollution – one of those is Formosa Plastics.
My name’s Melissa Robbins and I am a Petrochemical Accident Research intern at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. I recently graduated from Tulane University with a degree in public health. On Friday morning, the refinery efficiency initiative team decided to take a tour of Chalmette Refinery and Valero Meraux.
Great news for supporters of public health: Gina McCarthy was confirmed as the new EPA administrator last Thursday with a 59-40 vote in the Senate! However, this seemingly uncontroversial and qualified nominee’s confirmation comes after much ado, mostly caused by our very own Senator David Vitter, resulting in the longest-ever wait period (136 days) for an EPA nominee.
My name is Anna Hrybyk, I am a Master in Public Health and the Program Manager for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. We work with communities who live on the fenceline of refineries and chemical plants across the state. We are currently most active with community groups in Shreveport and Baton Rouge.
Based on our review of the presentations to the SAB today, I am requesting that the EPA receive more scientific guidance on fenceline monitoring in order to ensure the best quality data on emissions and accurately measure spikes in multiple air pollutants harmful to health that are frequent during malfunctions.
On April 1, 2011, the EPA issued an information collection request to oil refineries in the United States under the Clean Air Act requiring them to monitor what was being released from their stacks.[i] The results were shocking. On January 8, 2013, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery released an update to their initial report on December 9, 2011 reporting a release of hydrogen cyanide from their Fluid Catalytic Cracking Wet Gas Scrubber. They report that they were releasing anywhere from 44.3 lbs/day to 444.3 lbs/day of hydrogen cyanide with an estimated amount of 22,000 lbs released in the previous year; the reportable quantity for hydrogen cyanide according to the National Response Center is 10 lbs/day or 3650 lbs per year. The numbers submitted by ExxonMobil were determined using engineering estimates due to a change in estimating methodology instead of the refinery’s best professional judgment.[ii]
My trip to Highlander was such a wonderful educational experience. I learned so much about myself and the others who traveled with me. I was also able to see how the struggle for justice was not bound by the particulars of causes, race, or geographic location. Everyone was on the same page although we were fighting for different things.
Greetings. My name is Hillary Hafner. I’m currently an undergraduate student majoring in marine biology at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m from New Orleans and have returned home for the summer to fulfill an internship with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.
On Friday, June 28th, the Refinery Efficiency Initiative team traveled to Grand Isle, Louisiana and greeted the beaches of Elmer’s Island with glass jars and trash bags.
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