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How Much Do Louisiana Refineries Pollute?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the state of Louisiana has 17 refineries. They account for one-fifth of the nation’s refining capacity. According to the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a group that tracks refinery accidents, there were approximately 28,830,675 pounds of pollutants released by refineries because of accidents in the state between 2005 and 2014.

According to data collected by the group, these refineries had the most accidents:

  • ExxonMobil Refinery (890)
  • Chalmette Refining (560)
  • CITGO Petroleum (501)
  • Phillips 66 (317)
  • Motiva Enterprises (266)
  • Marathon Ashland Petroleum (250)
  • Motiva Enterprises (238)
  • Valero (233)
  • Valero (210)
  • Phillips 66 (153)
  • Calumet Lubricants 8 (147)
  • Placid Refining (103)

Notable Louisiana Refinery Incidents

Notably, some of these refineries have had more notable accidents than others. A significant release of pollutants is concerning because it’s dangerous for workers and nearby communities. Additionally, they can create lasting environmental issues.

Significant refinery accidents in Louisiana include:

  • Citgo in Lake Charles: The first of two major accidents at this location, the 2005 incident occurred during Hurricane Katrina. The damage led to more than 40,000 pounds of both sulfur dioxide and compressed flammable gas being released. It also resulted in more than 440,000 pounds of asbestos being released into the air. Slop oil and hydrogen sulfide were also released after the accident.
  • Citgo in Lake Charles: The 2006 accident occurred when heavy rainfall caused the release of several hazardous substances into both the air and water supply. There were over 2 million gallons of oil spilled into Moss Lake and the Calcasieu Ship Channel. More than 200,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide were released into the air, as well as thousands of pounds of toluene, xylene, and ethyl benzene
  • ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge: The refinery has dealt with numerous accidents over the years, yet in 2006, more than 33,800 pounds of corrosive waste and around 33,880 pounds of primary sludge were released onto land. Several corroded pipes that could no longer contain the hazardous elements effectively caused the accident. The reportable quantity for primary sludge is just one pound—making this toxic waste release around 33,879 pounds over the minimum amount for danger.
  • ConocoPhillips in Lake Charles: In early 2007, a chemical reaction occurred during a transfer of hydrogen sulfide. The accident resulted in one worker's death and left nine others in the hospital.
  • ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge: In 2008, an accident occurred releasing thousands of pounds of hazardous chemicals like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia into the air. Hurricane Gustav and its aftermath caused the three-day accident. The refinery was not ready for the strength of the storm and failed to maintain appropriate safety precautions and preparedness.
  • Chalmette Refining in Chalmette: During Hurricane Gustav, this refinery also suffered a serious accident. The damage resulted in more than 11.6 million gallons of untreated wastewater being released into Lake Borgne, contaminating a huge water source for people in the surrounding areas.

Notably, three refineries accounted for more than half of reported pollutants in between 2005 and 2014. Had these plants respected safety more, the state would have had fewer dangerous toxic events.

If you are concerned about the hazardous materials being released into your environment or have questions about refinery accident claims, Arnold & Itkin is here to help. Contact our Louisiana refinery accident lawyers today at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation.


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