[StBernard] Big Oil - Little Neighborhood

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Jul 1 09:07:03 EDT 2008

Thankyou for this very good article.

Just have to reflect and comment on this part: ""They treat oil
as if it were plutonium that has the potential to leak into the environment.
We are fined if our dirt burms are not high enough around a holding tank,
yet the truck that picks up our oil runs down the road at 60 mph with no
burm around it. People wonder why there is no more exploration in this
country. It's because of the regulators; people who have lived their whole
lives doing nothing but imposing fines on small operators like us for doing
mostly nothing.""

I donot agree that "there is no more exploration in this country" because of
the regulators. I think now that the price of crude oil is high enough to
economically justify domestic drilling for the oil companies, the drilling
restrictions will be lifted. This doesnot mean we should do away with the

While we could all make changes to improve our footprint on the environment,
spraying dirt roads with used oil for dust control is not any better than
spraying raindrainage canals with chemicals to control grass and weed
growth. However, even as ridiculous as some of the regulatory agency's
restrictions seem, comparing individual households or local governments to
petrochemical exploration, refining, storage and transportation of crude oil
and its refined products doesnot justify non-compliance with federal laws .

We should treat refined and crude "oil as if it were plutonium that has the
potential to leak into the environment" because when it will leak and when
it leaks into the environment it is harmful not only to the earth, wetlands
and fisheries, but also to our health. You dont need to tell District C
about high cancer rates or soil and ground water contamination.

While moving on instead of dwelling on what may have been -- we should still
know our risk and implement solutions from the lessons learned in St
Bernard Parish's Besty and Katrina/Rita and in the Coffeyville Kansas flood
and crude oil spill. Just think how different District C may have been if
the tanks' foundations had not settled over time, the berm (or burm) had not
failed or if the tank had not lifted. Shouldnt we now have better designed
berms and tank foundations with anchoring?

The regulations need to be changed. The SPCC requirements for berms and
storage tanks (chemical or petrochemical) are important, especially in flood
plains and coastal areas. "The Federal Regulations are not adequate.....
Flood plains will flood and at times it will be catastrophic; and this
flooding will happen whether the EPA anti-spill plan requires facilities to
prevent inundation from catastrophic flooding or not." It is not
acceptable to "justify their irresponsibility by claiming they are at least
in compliance."

The oil company(s) generally have a very nice working relationship with the
regulatory agencies and local government and typically enjoy many special
privileges and forums which probably affect discretionary enforcement
decisions. These very profitable companies chose to be in a regulated
industry and if properly maintained, the regulatory requirements generally
cost less than 1 to 2 % of their profits. If that is too much to place
basic safeguards for human health, sfety and welfare, perhaps they could
lower the CEO's salaries and bonuses. Just my opinion - SJK

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