"Accidental Release of Toxic Chemicals, Polluted Water by Local Plants Cited in Report"

"Frequent accidents at 10 of the state's biggest refineries resulted in the release of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air and millions of gallons of polluted water into state water courses between 2005 and 2008, according to a report to be released this morning by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

Almost a third of the 2,116 accidents at the 10 plants in four years occurred as the result of hurricanes or other bad weather events, according to the report.

For instance, in July 2005, a wind gust during Hurricane Cindy -- a Category 1 storm -- knocked out power for several oil-processing units at the Motiva facility in Norco, resulting in the release of an 83,000-pound mix of toxic gases to the air. Included were small amounts of known carcinogens such as benzene, and large amounts of highly reactive volatile organic compounds."

Mark Schleifstein reports for the New Orleans Times-Picayune December 7, 2009.

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 12/08/2009