LBB publishes report detailing refinery accidents

by Brandon Richards bio | email

WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental and justice organization, has released a new report detailing accidents at the state's ten largest refineries and chemical plants, including Citgo Petroleum in Lake Charles and ConocoPhillips in West Lake.

The report titled, "Common Ground: Why Cooperation to Reduce Accidents at Louisiana Refineries is Needed Now," is the first comprehensive report that examines accident data provided to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality by the refineries themselves, according to the group.

"What we've found is not a pretty picture," said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "But these refineries can improve, and we want today to be the first step in solving the problem."

The report looked at data submitted to the LDEQ in 2005 to 2008.

According to the report, Citgo Petroleum in Lake Charles reported 339 total accidents, which caused almost three million pounds of pollution to be released into the air, water and soil. More than half of this however, is a result from damage caused by Hurricane Rita in 2005.

The report says ConocoPhillips in West Lake, reported 186 accidents (another section in the report had this number at 208), causing more than 3.3 million pounds of pollution to be released into the air, water and soil. The report says 24 percent of these accidents were preventable.

KPLC asked both ConocoPhillips and Citgo for comment about the report.

Citgo Petroleum responded saying, "We have not had the opportunity to review the report in detail and check the validity of the data at this time. As a member of this community, it is our core value to work hard everyday to make certain that we maintain a safe operation for our employees and our community."

ConocoPhillips says they consider "personal and process safety a core value. We believe working safely and in an environmentally responsible manner is our most important job, both in our Louisiana refineries and anywhere we operate. We have not yet fully reviewed their report and we appreciate their expressed interest to work with industry on these important issues.  We have agreed to try to meet with the group in the future to see if there are ways we can collaborate to promote our mutual interests of safety and environmental protection."

You can download and read the Louisiana Bucket Brigade's complete report here.

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