La. Bucket Brigade tallies oil industry accidents (LA Weekly. Nov. 2013).


On November 12, in a tiny office on Canal St., the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB), an information and activism organization, held a press conference to raise awareness of the high number of oil industry accidents in Louisiana.

Big oil’s 327 unauthorized chemical releases in 2012 alone equaled 2,347,688 pounds of air pollution, and 12,745,442 gallons of water pollution, according to LABB’s statistics—a 20-percent increase since 2011.

“Accidents are happening more often, and they’re worse,” said Anne Rolfes, founding director of LABB. “Refineries are having equipment failures. They are not prepared for our weather. They need to put as much money and effort into working toward zero accidents as they do toward new oil-drilling technologies.”

To celebrate what LABB has deemed Oil Industry Accident Awareness Month, the group has published an eight-page pamphlet of new information titled, “Mission: Zero Accidents.” The pamphlet’s EPA-approved original statistics and charts were gleaned from publicly accessible oil industry accident reports. Those reports were measured against LABB’s very active iWitness Pollution Map, where concerned community members report flares from local refineries, bad smells, and other irregularities. Rolfes said that these community reports often pressure oil companies into filing official reports for incidents that would have otherwise slipped by.

“Since the first edition of this annual refinery accident report was released in 2009,” states LABB’s “Mission: Zero Accidents,” “the managers of Louisiana’s 17 refineries have been asked to work collaboratively to solve the accident problem. Only Marathon Oil has responded… the rest of the refineries – as well as the trade associations – have steadfastly refused to even acknowledge that there is a problem.”

“Mission: Zero Accidents,” provides a list of 2012’s top ten Air Pollution Accidents. To better aid this research, LABB is currently pushing for more “stack testing” in the industry, meaning more exact measurement of the harmful chemicals released into the environment, rather than the traditional estimates taken by the refineries themselves.

The Motiva/Shell company based in Norco, La., took the accident list’s top five spots. The only other speaker at the press conference was Wilton Ladet, a United Steel Workers union representative who also works for Motiva/Shell. “I was surprised when I saw that list,” said Ladet. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE at Louisiana Weekly…

Or watch this Bucket Brigade video: 

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