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New Study Exposes Exxon Chalmette Refining’s Accident Rate

(St. Bernard Parish, LA)

A new study of reports submitted by the troubled ExxonMobil Chalmette Refinery to the Department of Environmental Quality has revealed that the refinery averaged approximately six accidents a month for the 13 month period from August 2005 to August 2006.

Monitoring by the community and by the State Department of Environmental Quality has detected chemicals from the ExxonMobil refinery in the air in St. Bernard Parish. “St. Bernard Parish is Chalmette Refining’s dumping ground,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “The company made $36 billion last year because they can dump their waste on the people of Chalmette.”

The study analyzed ExxonMobil Chalmette Refining’s Incident Reports to the state environmental agency. In the 13 month period reviewed by the study, the refinery had 78 accidents. The chemicals released include benzene, which causes cancer, and sulfur dioxide, which triggers asthma attacks.

The study found that problems with equipment were the cause of most of the accidents. Repeated equipment failure was also the problem at BP in Texas City. That refinery’s deadly explosion was featured on this week’s 60 Minutes. “They are making a lot of money and not putting that money back into maintaining their equipment,” said Ken Ford of the St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality. “The bottom line is that the air stinks, and it’s dangerous around here.”

The study will be available at the press conference and will detail Exxon’s accidents as well as the monitoring data from the state.

Where: 12 Carroll Drive, Chalmette

When: 11 AM, Wednesday, November 1