Isaac’s environmental impact tallied
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — At least 341,000 gallons of oil, chemicals and untreated waste-water were released by oil, coal, gas and petrochemical facilities along the Louisiana coast after Hurricane Isaac struck in August 2012, according to a report released Tuesday.
An environmental consortium examined National Response Center and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality data for its analysis.
The Gulf Monitoring Consortium report said facilities also released about 192 tons of gasses and other materials, and that Isaac also washed ashore remnant oil from the 2010 BP oil spill.
The group is urging government regulatory agencies and emergency responders to monitor the facilities closely and require more reporting during and after storms.
Isaac came ashore the night of Aug. 28-29.
The report states that while petrochemical facilities often cite weather as the cause of the releases, “hurricanes and tropical storms are generally predictable and are an annual occurrence in the Gulf Region” and therefore that “poor planning and/or inadequate protections” are more to blame.
The report uses two facilities in St. Charles Parish has an example, stating that while the Valero refinery shut down in advance of the hurricane and reported no incidents, the Motiva Norco Refinery next door “encountered major problems and had to send workers out in the middle of the storm to tie down equipment.”
That Motiva refinery released 135 tons of pollution in the wake of Isaac, including 27 tons of volatile organic compounds, 16.5 tons of sulfur dioxide, and nearly a ton of benzene, the report states.
But while the Motiva refinery did not shut down before the storm, the strength of Isaac forced shutdowns, according to the report.
While ExxonMobil’s Chalmette Refinery did shut down in advance of the storm, it still had significant issues with pollution controls resulting in a 58-ton sulfur dioxide release, according to the report.