Phillips 66 responds to report Westlake plant exceeded set levels of benzene emissions in 2021

Phillips 66 in Westlake, Louisiana.
Phillips 66 in Westlake, Louisiana.(KPLC)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 11:54 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Phillips 66 has responded to a report saying its Westlake plant released more more than acceptable set levels of benzene emissions in 2021.

The plant blamed the excess emissions on damage from hurricanes Laura and Delta, but said repairs have been made and emissions have returned to amounts below the action level.

“As a result of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, the facility sustained damage to a tank vapor seal near one of the fenceline monitors,” Phillips 66 said in a response to questions by KPLC.A new, upgraded, engineered seal was designed and installed. Emissions have been below the action level since March 2022.

“Phillips 66 is committed to safe and environmentally responsible operations and is dedicated to controlling emissions. Phillips 66 is working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to preserve and protect the environment and local communities.”

Phillips 66′s Westlake plant was one of 12 refineries in the U.S. that exceeded the “action level” for benzene in 2021, according to the report by a group called the Environmental Integrity Project,. Nine of those were either in Louisiana or Texas.

Benzene, according to the report, is a know carcinogen.

“Short-term exposure to benzene can cause headaches, dizziness, and irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, as well as damage to the immune and blood systems. Long-term exposure can lead to blood disorders and increase the risk of leukemia.”

Read the full report HERE.

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