Louisiana’s Troubled Petrochemical Industry: 166 Accidents in January, 2017

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February 22, 2017

Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, 504-452-4909, anne@labucketbrigade.org

Louisiana’s Troubled Petrochemical Industry: 166 Accidents in January, 2017
Phillips 66 Explosion Reports Failed to Note Impacts

(New Orleans) Workers jumping overboard from an oil platform, a release of the known carcinogen benzene, and five pipeline accidents are among the reports filed to the National Response Center by the oil industry about its operations in January. “The oil and gas industry pretends that its relentless accidents have no impact on people, on our bayous, our swamps, our air quality, drinking water and our climate,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “But their accidents dumped 29,000 gallons of oil in January alone, and those are just the accidents we know about.” The report is available at labucketbrigade.org

Today’s report was released by DisasterMap.net, 350 Louisiana and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. A third of the reported accidents had “unknown” in the description, whether for quantity, cause of accident or type of chemicals released. The report released today included 151 reports to the National Response Center (NRC), the federal point of contact for oil spills. Fifteen additional accidents were reported by Louisiana residents to iWitnessPollution.org, a crowd sourced pollution map operated by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

“Just before 5 pm on January 25th, Chalmette Refining reported a release of 50 pounds of benzene.  People are reporting sicknesses due to odors. This data makes it harder and harder to deny that these daily accidents do not adversely impact the health of the citizens of Louisiana,” said Dr. Ezra Boyd of DisasterMap.net

Today’s report included the three NRC reports filed about the Phillips 66 explosion in Paradis, Louisiana. That explosion came as paid lobbyists and the oil and gas industry cite pipeline safety as the chief reason the Bayou Bridge Pipeline should be constructed. The reports about the Paradis explosion include incorrect information about the impacts to the community.

The groups today pointed out the danger of increasing reliance on fossil fuels, including gas and oil.

“Natural gas is an inherently unsafe product. Producing it via fracking is forever poisoning huge quantities of water, causing earthquakes, and leaking large quantities of the very potent GHG methane,” said Renate Heurich of 350Louisiana. “Transporting it or storing it endangers workers and residents, as we just saw in Paradis. Burning it causes CO2 emissions, which are destabilizing our climate and pose tremendous risks to our lives. Wind and solar are safe alternatives available to us right now, but the fossil fuel industry is bent on squeezing every dollar of profit they can make before their unsustainable system is collapses.”

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