New Sarpy residents blast Orion's community schemes; accuse refinery of delivering ultimatums to residents

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New Sarpy, July 18) Neighbors of Orion Refinery today blasted refinery management for a community program that they say attempts to force them into submission, instead of working cooperatively as Shell did with the residents of Norco. "We had Orion here in our community telling us they would spend money on us if we dropped our law suit that seeks clean air," said Dorothy Jenkins, President of Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy. "Is that any way to act - threatening us? They should be working with us. And we want to get out from under this plant."

Several Orion managers presented a "Community Improvement Plan" to 46 members of Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy on Tuesday night. The plan, which offered a $25,000 home improvement loan and annual cash to residents, had no input from community residents and overlooked the neighborhood's long standing demand for relocation.  Orion management said that the offer would stand only if the Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy had the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic drop the lawsuit currently in the courts. The lawsuit outlines consistent, egregious Clean Air Act violations. Orion management admitted that it has not yet solved ongoing environmental problems.

"This is the year 2002, and Orion is still trying to act like the master dictating to the slaves and telling us what is our best interest," said Don Winston, a New Sarpy resident. "We are entitled to choice." Residents continued to seethe today at what they see as Orion's "master" mentality and attempts to confuse, and divide and conquer them. "We are taking the gloves off, we are exposing them," said Major Mackie, another resident. "Enough is enough."

Residents are today repeating their demand of meeting with Orion Refinery CEO Clark Johnson to discuss relocation. "Where is Clark the Shark?" said New Sarpy residents, referring to Clark Johnson's land sharking - purchasing of New Sarpy homes at prices that cheat New Sarpy residents. "The top Shell manager was intimately involved with working out the deal in Norco," said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade who worked closely with the Norco residents to achieve their deal. "Orion is treating its neighbors in New Sarpy like second class citizens. Orion should be ashamed, especially with Shell as such a great example next door."

"We know what we need to do now," said Ms. Jenkins. "We have our eyes open. It's time to watch, fight, and pray."

Where: Arterbury Hall on River Road         When: 11:30 AM, Thursday, July 18, 2002

Good visuals at event, including blow up photo of a flare and colorful signs.

From I-10 West take 310, the Boutte / Houma exit. Follow signs to Norco. You will come out on Airline Highway, 61. Drive past a strip mall with a Winn Dixie and Burger King. Turn left at the light between Burger King and Eckerd's. Drive all the way down to River Road.  Turn right and drive a bit. The Sheriff's Office will be on your right. Artebury Hall is behind it. If you get lost, call (504) 914 - 3164.

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