Chalmette Refining releases 19 tons of catalyst, not one ton as previously claimed

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CHALMETTE, La. – The follow-up report Chalmette Refining submitted a week after a Labor Day power outage and chemical accident shows the amount of catalyst and sulfur dioxide released into the community far exceeded public statements.

The new figure discovered in refinery reports to the state shows 19 tons of catalyst escaped from the flue gas scrubber vent, raining down on the surrounding neighborhoods in the form of a powder-like dust.

“The refinery’s response sounds a lot like BP and the oil spill,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “Chalmette Refining is either incompetent in managing their product or they are untruthful in statements to the public.”

Besides catalyst, the original estimates reported 2,000 pounds of asthma-inducing sulfur dioxide released; the figure is now reported as 106,646 pounds. The accident also sent 283 pounds of hydrogen sulfide to the flare.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is again calling on the parish to review its emergency response procedures regarding Chalmette Refining’s poor handling of the Labor Day accident. Officials downplayed the amount of pollutants released, called the materials “not harmful” despite recommendations of its own Material Safety Data Sheet, and never told the public sulfur dioxide had been released even though Chalmette Refining reported this to the State Police Hazardous Materials Hotline at the time of the accident.

To see a copy of Chalmette Refining’s report, click here.

About the Louisiana Bucket Brigade:
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is an environmental health and justice organization supporting neighborhoods’ use of grassroots action to create informed, sustainable communities free from industrial pollution.

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