According to a new report by the Bucket Brigade, other neighborhood environmental groups and the United Steelworkers Union
- Refinery accident data is underestimated; the number of accidents is likely far higher than detailed in this report.
- A Accident reduction is an opportunity for job creation and economic growth. Hiring more workers and adding maintenance programs will make a refinery safer. Emissions control technologies can save corporations money and product in the long term.
- Refineries do not have sufficient storm and hurricane preparedness plans. Twenty-seven percent of all emissions to the air and 64% of emissions to the ground and water between 2005 – 2009 occurred during bad weather like storms or hurricanes. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if storm preparedness plans were followed, facilities invested in back up power systems and wastewater treatment capacities were increased to handle Louisiana rains.
- Refineries are not being thorough in their investigations of the accident causes; from 2005 – 2009, 20% of all accidents had no information about the cause.
- Management trends — including laying off workers and deferring maintenance — may result in short-term profits for the parent corporation but are generally making refineries more dangerous.
- ExxonMobil’s two refineries (Baton Rouge Refinery and Chalmette Refining) have the most frequent accidents and the largest emissions from accidents.
- The refining industry is not capitalizing on this opportunity to collaborate to solve the accident problem. Twelve of the state’s 17 refineries — including worst offenders ExxonMobil, Calumet Lubricants and CITGO — have refused repeated invitations to collaborate in good faith. ConocoPhillips, Valero Refining, Marathon Petroleum and Pelican Refining have responded positively. The Louisiana Mid-Continental Oil and Gas Association, while somewhat responsive, is ultimately ineffective since it cannot speak for the corporations involved.
Why Cooperation to Reduce Accidents at Louisiana Refineries Is Needed Now