Truck spill at troubled Calumet Lubricants demonstrates continued dangers facing refinery neighbors

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SHREVEPORT, La. – An accident involving a refinery truck carrying heavy asphalt temporarily closed part of Hudson Avenue outside Calumet Lubricants Thursday afternoon. Otis Randle, regional manager for Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, did not know the exact quantity of material spilled, but said there was “no off-site impact” even though city crews had to pour sand to prevent it from sticking to vehicles.

“The community lives too close to the refinery,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “It’s just plain dangerous, and their requests for relocation away from these hazards need to be heard.”

Velma White, a refinery neighbor and member of Residents for Air Neutralization, said the accident caused closure of several blocks of the street for several hours after the incident.

“Because of the hardships we’ve experienced every day living near Calumet Lubricants, you never know what to expect,” she said. “In this community, we are exposed to deadly chemicals on a daily basis.” 

White called the local Community Emergency Response Team to find out more about the accident. “They told me it would take a month or two before I could get a report on what happened,” she said. However, refineries are required to submit accident reports within seven days.

Though a small accident, this is another example of a continued problem at state refineries – particularly in Shreveport, where Calumet Lubricants is dangerously close to the surrounding community.

Calumet Lubricants had 69 accidents between 2005-2009 and spilled nearly 250,000 pounds of pollutants into the surrounding community during that time. For more detailed information on the refinery’s accidents, see the Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s Refinery Accident Database.

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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