|St. Charles refineries get ‘thumbs up’ from environmental group
February 14, 2007 at 3:22 pm
Nine oil refineries in the United States account for only 15 percent of the nation’s refining capacity but produce a shocking third of total carcinogenic pollution emissions that are reported by the oil industry, according to a new report from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project.
But when it comes to local-to-St. Charles Parish refineries, we’re in good shape. None of the top polluters are located here.
In fact, a spokesman for the environmental group tells the Herald-Guide that even though all plants produce toxic wastes, Valero St. Charles Refinery in Norco, Motiva Enterprises, LLC in Norco, and Shell Chem LP in St. Rose, all are doing a good job of handling theirs safely and guarding against releases into the environment.
When considering toxic emissions, the size of the plant, and its overall refining capacity,, are prime considerations in how much is too much.
“In a comparision of releases of so-called ‘OSHA carcinogens’ for the three refineries located in St. Charles Parish, you’ll find the numbers are lower on average than other refineries in the United States,” direction Eric Schaeffer, formerly of the Environmental Protectin Agency, told the Herald-Guide from his office in Washington, D.C.
“Shell Norco (east chemical plant) was Louisiana’s second largest source of emissions of “OSHA carcinogens” in 2004,” he adds. “But that’s not surprising given the plant’s size and what it produces.”
In other words, the waste produced was relative to the output and it was handled appropriately.
Disturbingly, Schaeffer said, smaller refineries in other parishes and other states are producing a disproportionate amount of toxic wastes.
And he says that what he calls “major inconsistencies” in the carcinogen emission data analyzed by EIP “raise serious questions about the accuracy and completeness of oil industry reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about such pollution.”
Entitled Refined Hazard: Carcinogenic Air Pollution from America’s Oil Refineries, the EIP report identifies the Top 10 refinery sources of air emissions of carcinogens in 2004 as follows: (1) BP/Texas City, TX; (2) Exxon Mobil/Baytown, TX; (3) Flint Hills/Corpus Christi, TX.; (4) La Gloria/Tyler, TX; (5) Lyondell-Citgo/Houston, TX; (6) Exxon Mobil/Baton Rouge, LA; (7) Valero/Corpus Christi, TX; (8) Sunoco/Philadelphia, PA; (9) Chalmette/Chalmette, LA; and (10) Citgo/Lake Charles, LA.
“Overall level of emissions of carcinogens declined between 1999 and 2004,” said Schaeffer.
“But there were big jumps at some refineries and inconsistency in the level of reporting at others.
“EPA should stop taking industry self-reporting at face value, and investigate whether these emissions are being accurately reported as the law requires.”
The EIP report uses data from the EPA Toxics Release Inventory to catalogue refinery air emissions of certain pollutants that are known or believed to cause cancer.
The TRI is a database that contains information on toxic chemical releases reported annually by certain covered industries, including oil refineries.
Designations of chemicals as carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic in humans are made by expert consensus groups established by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, or by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is an agency of the World Health Organization.
The carcinogens emitted by U.S. refineries include benzene, ethylbenzene, butadiene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthalene, formaldehyde, and metals such as nickel and lead.
Key findings of the EIP report include:
- The BP Texas City refinery - where a major 2005 explosion resulted in 15 fatalities - was by far the largest refinery source of carcinogen emissions in 2004, due mostly to its reported release of nearly two million pounds of formaldehyde in that year. BP has claimed that the formaldehyde release resulted from a change in its emission calculations, raising questions as to whether other refineries are reporting accurately.
* La Gloria, a small refinery in Tyler, Texas, is the largest refinery source of air emissions of benzene, a known carcinogen.
* Sunoco’s Philadelphia refinery is the largest single U.S. refinery source of polycyclic aromatic compounds, which include suspected carcinogens.
* Excluding BP Texas City, Texas refineries accounted for 36 percent of total refinery air emissions of carcinogens in 2004, but only 24 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.
Questions? Comments? Write: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Healthy-heart tips for a better life
February 14, 2007 at 3:18 pm
Heart disease is a major problem in Louisiana, having been identified as one of the Top 10 health threats facing citizens of the state.
|Well blow me down! Louisiana’s a Top 20 tornado state ... in fact, we’re No. 5
February 14, 2007 at 3:16 pm
As part of an ongoing study of tornadic risk in the United States, the VorTek company of Huntsville, Alabama has released the rankings of the Top 20 tornado-prone states for the month of February.
|Don’t let lottery crooks sucker you out of your money: Sheriff
February 14, 2007 at 3:16 pm
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne warns residents about a new scam that was previously reported - but deserves an update.
|Luling grad student’s work is, well ... ‘pretty as a picture’
February 14, 2007 at 3:07 pm
Ann Gassen of Luling, a graduate student in art at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, has been accepted in the eMerging Artists Exhibit hosted by the Morrison Institute for the Arts in Natchitoches. Her entry? That’s it pictured at left.
|United Way’s ‘Wall of Success’ honors past, present & future
February 14, 2007 at 3:04 pm
February will be remembered as a historic month for the United Way of St. Charles, and February 15th will be remembered as a daylong celebration of the agency’s past, present and future with the kickoff set for 10:15 a.m. at the United Way of St. Charles offices at 13207 River Road in Luling.
|DHS Teacher of the Year
February 14, 2007 at 3:03 pm
Joey Brady has been named Destrehan High School’s Teacher of the Year.
|Ethel S's Teacher of the Year
February 14, 2007 at 3:02 pm
‘She’s a phenomenal teacher and credit to the profession.’
- Karen Naquin
|Bicentennial trivia ... celebrating our parish’s 200th B-day
February 14, 2007 at 2:45 pm
Enjoy history? Like trivia? You’ve come to the right place. Because each week on this page, we publish historical tibits in honor of our Bicentennial Year. Here goes:
|Cash for college
February 14, 2007 at 2:34 pm
With thousands of kids across Louisiana preparing for college, and federal money up for grabs, students in St. Charles Parish should apply for assistance now to avoid losing out on getting the help they need to pay for school expenses.
|TERROR DRILL 'WAS SCARY'
February 14, 2007 at 2:27 pm
Emails and phone messages went out all across St. Charles Parish to alert residents that increased police activity was part of an intense training exercise involving a Homeland Security terror drill - no one was really in danger.
|In the news
February 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm
The Louis Armstrong International Airport served 6,217,023 passengers in 2006. That’s 80% of the passengers who used the airport in 2005 and 64% of the all time high of 9,733,179 passengers in 2004.
|302 houses & counting
February 14, 2007 at 2:17 pm
After 10 years of planning, Ashton Plantation subdivision in Luling is nearly complete and lots are selling faster than the developers can prep them.
|Sheriff's office holds homeland security drill
February 12, 2007 at 10:35 am
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office issued the following news release regarding a homeland securtiy drill this week.
|Bicentennial trivia ... celebrating SC Parish’s 200th B-day
February 07, 2007 at 2:58 pm
Enjoy history? Like trivia? You’ve come to the right place. Because each week on these pages, we publish seven new historical tibits in honor of our Bicentennial Year. Here goes:
|Weather Girl Megan's
February 07, 2007 at 2:55 pm
Warm and chilly, cloudy and sunny, rainy and dry - we'll get it all in the coming week ... read on to find out more.
|Norco 4-6 Elementary’s Honor Roll
February 07, 2007 at 2:39 pm
This week's honor roll coverage: Norco 4-6 Elementary. Check out next week’s edition for more of the parish school’s prinicpal lists and honor rolls. Send all school news to Heather R. Breaux at email@example.com.
|Valentine’s story you’ll NEVER forget
February 07, 2007 at 2:29 pm
Two former drug addicts who met and fell in love at the Nelson Coleman Correctional facility are happily married and teaching others how love and faith in God are the key ingredients in rebuilding your life.
St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Des Allemands will have the altar for viewing and...
Girl Scout Cadettes Hailey Dinkins, Catelyn Errington and Margo Matherne in...
The Destrehan Lady Wildcats went 2-2 over last week playing in the Sulpher...
It was a good week for the Hahnville Lady Tigers, who picked up wins against H.L....
• DHS star makes history
• Lady Tigers blank East St. John, 15-0
• Lady Cats rout Central Lafourche in 14-0 shutout
• Tigers beat STM 17-10, but can’t hold on against Barbe, Evangel
• Wildcats rebound from Jesuit loss to knock off Lutcher, 3-0
Arc director says closure possible without tax help - 563 views
Hit by what Victoria Bryant called “the double whammy” – declining revenue and rising expenses, the Arc of St. Charles would have to start shutting down programs within three years without help.
Calendar of events
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