Posts tagged: refineries

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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
28 March 2014, 11:41 AM
Concerned communities fight back
Vice Mayor Linda Maio, joined by Mayor Tom Bates and Council member Darryl Moore, speaks out in support of resident opposition to a proposed crude by rail project. (Mauricio Castillo / Earthjustice)

Is crude by rail coming to a town near me?

For weeks, I’ve been asking myself that question as I kept hearing about the skyrocketing number of trains that are transporting crude oil throughout the U.S. to east and west coast export facilities.

And I’m not alone.

This week, I attended a protest by my fellow neighbors in Berkeley, California, to stop crude by rail shipments coming through our town. The crude oil boom is brought on by fracking in North Dakota and drilling in Canada’s Alberta tar sands. Both forms of crude are hazardous—Bakken shale crude from North Dakota is highly flammable and tar sands oil is extremely corrosive and also difficult to clean up.

Not surprisingly, once people hear how explosive and dangerous this crude can be when spilled, they really don’t want it traveling through their main streets…or anywhere else. But travel it does. Hundreds of miles, in fact, through rural towns and along main streets, along densely populated areas like Chicago and Albany, and even inside windswept and vulnerable wild lands like Montana’s Glacier National Park.

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View Jessica Hodge's blog posts
05 March 2014, 12:26 PM
Louisianans take action to find out what's happening with their dirty neighbors
Flaring at the Shell's refinery in Norco, Louisiana. (Photo courtesy of iWitness Pollution Map)

This guest blog post was written by Molly Brackin, with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade which works with communities overburdened by pollution.

Since 2000, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade has worked with communities throughout Louisiana that neighbor oil refineries and chemical plants.

Their mission is to support communities’ use of grassroots action to create informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution. The Bucket Brigade model is to equip communities most impacted by pollution with easy-to-use tools to monitor their environment and hold industry accountable.

Molly Brackin.

Molly Brackin is an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, where she serves as the Monitoring & Evaluation Associate. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, where she specialized in hazard mitigation and disaster.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
14 February 2014, 1:15 PM
Volatile rail traffic greatly increases explosion, toxic pollution risks
The fireball that followed the derailment and explosion of two trains, one carrying Bakken crude oil, on December 30, 2013, outside Casselton, ND. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration)

Maybe you've seen the riveting photographs of fireballs and burning houses and oiled and blackened streams and marshes. Train cars carrying crude oil have been derailing and exploding with frightening frequency lately, in Canada and North Dakota and Alabama and Philadelphia.

There are fears that Albany, capital of the great state of New York, may be next in line.

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View Jessica Hodge's blog posts
12 November 2013, 4:07 PM
November is Oil Industry Accident Awareness Month in Louisiana
Over 6,000 people live within two miles of the Valero Refinery, in Meraux, LA. (Photo courtesy of Louisiana Bucket Brigade)

Six accidents a week and more than two-million pounds of air pollution are what Louisiana residents lived with in 2012—and they can expect more accidents and more pollution. Louisiana’s 17 refineries reported 327 accidents in 2012. The evidence is mounting that many refinery accidents are not being reported, and some of those reported are only due to community member’s forcing industry into the light.

That is why the Louisiana Bucket Brigade teamed up with the United Steelworkers and others to release the report Mission: Zero Accidents that draws attention to the dangerous conditions residents and workers are exposed to near Louisiana oil refineries. Refineries underreporting and providing little to know information on the majority of reported accidents leave workers and communities vulnerable.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
03 May 2011, 6:38 AM
Clean Air Ambassadors share inspiring stories, speak truth to power

The Clean Air Ambassadors who arrived yesterday in Washington, D.C. have some amazing stories to tell, and I spent the better part of yesterday hearing them. Alexandra Allred from Midlothian, TX described a day she spent outside with her son Tommy—a day when he didn’t suffer his usual respiratory issues and could play carefree, like a kid again. “I had my son back,” she told me.

William Anderson, an ambassador from Nevada and Chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, described the coal fly ash that shrouds his community in a haze of toxic dust, choking local residents and concealing the nearby mountains behind a curtain of miasmal fog.

Kimberly Hill of Detroit, MI told me about residents who live near the Marathon oil refinery, which is expanding to refine tar sands crude oil from Canada—one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth. Tucked under a toxic blanket, these residents suffer from respiratory disease and unusual forms of cancer.

The ambassadors’ stories spring from pollution, disease, loss of loved ones and other unsavory challenges that life presents. But more importantly, their stories are charged with hope, perseverance and bravery. Many of the ambassadors arrived to tell their tales having never set foot in Washington, D.C., that inner circle of government life where power concentrates imposingly, and too often to the exclusion of the very people whose votes put the powerful in office. To walk in those halls and sit in those offices to tell Very Important People how vital clean air is to one’s community is an act of bravery by which I am awed and humbled.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
01 February 2011, 2:43 PM
Also, congressman's dirty deeds and boilers' toxic air
Refinery photo by Pamela A. Miller.

(Clean air is a life saver, which is why Earthjustice is working to ensure that polluters don’t stand in the way of safeguards against air pollution. Here’s a round up of some recent news in the ongoing campaign to protect our Right to Breathe.)

Use the #right2breathe hashtag on Twitter to track campaign updates.

EPA Defends Hazardous Waste Loophole
Back in 2008, the Bush administration exempted oil refineries from safety requirements designed to protect the public from the storage, transport, and burning of hazardous waste. Citizen groups including Earthjustice asked the current EPA to close the loophole, but last week, the agency signaled its support for the Bush-era exemption. This is bad news for communities that live near oil refineries. Wilma Subra of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network said “Communities in the Gulf region already suffer enough from refineries’ toxic pollution. The last thing we need is uncontrolled burning of their hazardous wastes.” A public comment period will open shortly—we’ll keep you posted on what you can do to help close this egregious loophole.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
23 December 2010, 10:25 AM
EPA Announces Timetable for GHG Reductions at Power Plants and Oil Refineries

Earthjustice is feeling merry today – and it’s not just the holidays. In part to our litigation, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced timetables for setting greenhouse gas emission limits for power plants and oil refineries. In a press call making the announcement, Gina McCarthy—EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation – explained that power plants and oil refineries are “two of the largest stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions.”

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
28 June 2010, 12:33 PM
Port Arthur, TX residents continually exposed to toxic emissions
Hilton Kelley of Port Arthur, TX.

When Hilton Kelley of Port Arthur, Texas moved back to his hometown more than a decade ago, he didn't realize that he'd spend the ensuing years battling for clean air. And on a muggy Tuesday afternoon, he drove 90 miles west toward Houston to attend yet another EPA hearing to comment on air pollution rules.

Kelley, 49, lives in an area where there are 20 facilities, small and large, continuously pumping chemicals into the air.

"We have become the dumping ground for America's toxic waste," said Kelley. The Port Arthur community is comprised of residents that often times need two or three jobs to make ends meet, he said. "It's an area of least resistance."

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
29 April 2010, 1:31 PM
California court stops refinery expansion over illegal EIR

<Update: This month, Chevron quietly let pass its final opportunity to appeal a California Court of Appeal decision that rejected the Environmental Impact Report for its expansion project at the Richmond Refinery.>

Most of us know what it's like to have a bad neighbor—but imagine one so bad that you're forced to regularly hide indoors from it.

Such a bully has long stalked the communities of Richmond, CA, but this week they got help—from the California State Court of Appeals. The court sided with residents against their nightmare neighbor, a Chevron Corporation oil refinery that's been pouring toxic pollution upon them for years, that would like to make things even worse by refining thicker, dirtier oil.

The court stopped Chevron dead in its tracks because its expansion plan relied on an Environmental Impact Report so deficient that the court ruled it illegal. It's not likely the end of this fight, but for Earthjustice and the folks it's standing up for, this is the best news they've had in years of struggle with Chevron.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
08 March 2010, 12:37 PM
A victory for Earthjustice and those who live near refineries, other plants
Tesoro Refinery fire. Photo by Jesse Marquez

You know when you're hiking up a mountain and you think you've reached the summit, only to turn the corner with the realization that you have further to climb? Well, Earthjustice and other clean air advocates have finally reached the summit, putting an end to litigation involving a loophole that gave industrial facilities a free pass to ignore pollution limits whenever plants start up, shut down or malfunction.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the American Chemistry Council (and others) a request to review the case, which Earthjustice won in December 2008.

The Supreme Court's decision is huge for us, but it's folks on the ground (the ones that live near these plants and their skyrocketing emissions) that are cheering the loudest -- people like Jesse Marquez: who lives three miles from a Wilmington, California Tesoro Energy Corp's refinery which caught fire last September because of a malfunction. Jesse was at the scene, taking pictures and recalling the terrible mixture of crude oil and diesel fuel filling the air for 6 hours.

That same month, Tesoro CEO Bruce Smith traveled to DC to lobby Congress to protest emissions reductions.

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