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An Accident a Day Keeps the Doctors Well Paid

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Were one to want to work a job where your life and safety are consistently in danger and where you can live with the constant threat of pollution, one could do far worse than heading to Louisiana for a job in the state’s many oil refineries. Full report is here. Well worth your time.

Well, OK, Louisiana’s oil refineries don’t have accidents every single day. Just six days a week on average. Actually, to be specific, 6.3 days a week.

Last year, the 17 refineries and two associated chemical plants in the state experienced 327 accidents, releasing 2.4 million pounds of air pollution, including such poisons as benzene and sulfur, and 12.7 million gallons of water pollution. That’s according to a report published Tuesday [PDF] by the nonprofit Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which compiled the data from refineries’ individual accident reports.

One example involves a release of materials at ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge facility where there was an initial report of at least 10 pounds of benzene as required by law within an hour of the release.

It turned out the release was more than 31,000 pounds.
The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association responded by questioning the credibility of the report and saying the industry is “making strong environmental progress.”

10 pounds, 31,000 pounds, it’s just a few zeros, amiright?

Let’s be clear. While there will probably always be a certain amount of risk laboring in a refinery, these facilities could be far safer. But, beginning with the Reagan Administration, the United Sates made a decision to deemphasize workplace safety and health in favor of corporate prerogative and profit, using terms like “burdensome regulations” and “small government” as euphemisms for the ultimate goal of rolling back decades of gains by the labor and environmental movements that made Americans healthier and safer, both on and off the job.

And the collective cost of all these accidents and emissions? Well, they don’t call that area of Louisiana “Cancer Alley” for nothing.

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  • efgoldman

    But pipelines are safe. The owners tell us so.

    The fire from an LPG pipeline explosion that triggered the evacuation of the town of Milford on Thursday is expected to burn well into Friday, Ellis County officials said.

    Officials said crews were excavating at the site at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday when a 10-inch liquid petroleum gas pipeline was punctured. Chevron, who owns the line, immediately evacuated their crew of five; all escaped without injury. When the line exploded and caught fire, several vehicles and equipment parked at the site along Cosby Road were destroyed and burned.

    http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Pipleline-Explodes-in-Milford-Roads-Closed-231911591.html

  • DrDick

    Speaking as someone who grew up around the oil business, may I just say that they are among the most generally loathsome industries on earth? They lie, cheat, and steal as a matter of course. They deny all responsibility for their actions and minimize the consequences from them.

    • DrDick
      • efgoldman

        Look up, Doc.

    • NonyNony

      They lie, cheat, and steal as a matter of course. They deny all responsibility for their actions and minimize the consequences from them.

      As someone who grew up around the coal industry, this sounds familiar.

    • cpinva

      “They deny all responsibility for their actions and minimize the consequences to themselves from them.”

      fixed that for ya.

  • somethingblue

    If we’re all dead by 60, does that mean we don’t have to work till we’re 70?

    • Zombie labor!

      • Linnaeus

        Don’t we have a zombie around here somewhere?

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      “St Peter don’t ya call me, ’cause I can’t go….”

      • You haul sixteen tons and what do you get?
        Another day deader and deeper in debt
        St Peter don’t you call me, cause I can’t go
        I’ve got to shamble down to the company store.

  • KmCO

    That picture breaks my heart.

  • cpinva

    is it possible for the EPA to designate an entire state as a toxic waste site?

    • Linnaeus

      There were so many Superfund sites at one time in New Jersey that I’m sure someone at the EPA thought they might need to do that.

  • Kurzleg

    Is this a typo?

    In 2002 Louisiana had the second-highest death rate from cancer in the United States. While the national average is 206 deaths per 100,000, Louisiana’s rate was 237.3 deaths per 100,000. At the same time, the death rate from cancer in the area dubbed cancer alley was lower than the rest of Louisiana, as well as the national average.[1]

    Or does the petrochemical industry employ folks to modify Wiki articles so they make the industry look much better?

    • Rigby Reardon

      Or does the petrochemical industry employ folks to modify Wiki articles so they make the industry look much better?

      Would that surprise you?

      Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if people like JenBob did that for free, just because they know it’ll Piss Off Teh Librulz.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Any ability of JenBob to modify articles so as to make them look better, rather than (say) simply incoherent, seem unlikely.

  • Darek

    So if you’re poor the right wants you to take responsibility for your life and get off welfare, but corporate welfare is A-ok and demanding that energy companies clean up their mess is communism. How can you fucking win with these people?

  • EJ

    When you drive through Southern Louisiana, there are basically two kinds of billboards:

    1. “Make BIG BUCKS working in the oil industry!”

    2. “Injured in an oil related job? Make BIG BUCKS suing the shit out of your former employer!”

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