(New Orleans) The troubled Exxon Mobil refinery in Chalmette was dealt another blow today when Judge Sarah Vance ruled to deny the corporation’s motion for a stay in the citizens’ Clean Air Act law suit. “We are just very, very satisfied,” said Kenneth Ford, President of the St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality. “We have coke dust falling on our homes and it’s time to do something about it.” The hearing was held in federal district court.
Among the most critical complaints in the suit are repeated upsets at the refinery, scenarios in which the citizens say the refinery illegally dumps thousands of pounds of dangerous toxics that endanger the health of the people. In 2003, Chamlette Refining averaged approximately one upset every six days. “This case is a national precedent setting case on upsets that are a problem at refineries all over the nation,” said Denny Larson of the Refinery Reform Campaign.
The law suit, St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality and Louisiana Bucket Brigade vs. Chalmette Refining LLC, has been filed under the citizen enforcement provision of the Clean Air Act. Today’s hearing included a dramatic appeal to the judge by Clay Garside, the student attorney, who argued that Mr. Ford, who has already lost one lung to cancer, should not be forced to breathe pollution while Exxon Mobil delays the process.
“Exxon can try to delay and deny,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, “but eventually they will have to face the truth and clean up their disastrous refinery.”
“Exxon is trying again, like it has for 20 years, to delay justice, but fortunately the judge saw through it,” said Denny Larson of the Refinery Reform Campaign.