There were 327 accidents in Louisiana's refineries last year, meaning that an average of six accidents happened every week in the 17 facilities located within the state borders, according to an environmental health and justice organization.
Overall, these accidents led to 2 million pounds of air pollution and over 12 million gallons of water pollution, a report by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) has claimed.
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The data included in the LABB report has been compiled from the reports that refineries are required to submit to the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the methodology for data management has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Staff looking through refinery reports found instances of underreporting, as well as sloppy reporting of accidents, the organization said. About one in ten accidents were not reported and Shreveport's Calumet Refining had failed to file 12 percent of its reports until it was forced to do so by the state agency, following complaints from the public.
What the organization hopes to achieve is to put an end to refinery accidents but this can only happen if all parties involved willingly cooperate, LABB said. Refinery workers and officials at the DEQ should openly state what they know about the industry, so that air and water pollution can be got under control, said Anne Rolfes, founding director of the LABB. She also accused managers of protecting "the oil industry's interests."