14 October 2010

Louisiana Grantee Uncovers ExxonMobil's Latest Disaster

A Louisiana refinery with a long history of putting workers in danger is responsible for the latest deadly accident along Louisiana's coast.

ExxonMobil's Chalmette Refinery, which allegedly averaged 83 accidents per year from 2005 - 2009, is now facing backlash after a worker died while trying to fix a dangerous hydrogen sulfide leak -- a leak that could have had grave impact on the community surrounding the refinery. Ms. Foundation grantee the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) broke this important story thanks to a citizen report submitted to the Chemical Accidents component of their Oil Spill Crisis Map; now they are playing a lead role in pressing for the release of further information about the leak -- which the local community was never informed of -- and about the death that transpired in the attempt to fix it.

An environmental health and justice organization formed to support neighborhoods’ use of grassroots action to keep communities free from industrial pollution, LABB has little doubt about why this latest accident occurred. They believe that ExxonMobil's "repeated decisions to defer maintenance" at the refinery are to blame for the leak, and ultimately for a worker's death. The group is now calling on local authorities to break their silence by releasing parish reports on the incident, and they're holding Exxon accountable by letting the public know that things in Chalmette remain hazardous at best.

“At what point does Exxon use its billions of dollars in profit to protect public health and
our lives?” asked Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of LABB in a recent press release [pdf]. “This refinery is a disaster and they keep proving it. Enough is enough.”

Learn more about the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and the work they are doing to keep communities safe from environmental harm. Listen as Iris Carter, a Board Member at LABB, describes a recent campaign to make Shell take responsibility for the harmful pollution spewing from its chemical plant in Norco, LA.

Iris Carter (1:57)

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