Business & Economy,
October 28th, 2011
By Anne Rolfes
Last Monday began with a bang. On my way to work I learned that Senator David Vitter and Rep. Jeff Landry were at it again — planning to meet with officials in the regional office of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, BOEMRE for short. The news report stated that these Louisiana congressmen were going to urge the bureau, successor to the federal government’s disgraced Minerals Management Service, to relax oversight of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on public statements from Vitter and Landry, I felt sure that the subject of oil industry accidents was not going to come up in their meeting. Yet it should.
Oil industry accidents are an epidemic in this state, not only offshore but onshore, in refineries, as well. The BP Disaster is the worst example of problems in the industry, yet every week brings another illustration.
Just a few days ago ExxonMobil’s Chalmette refinery let out so many chemicals that residents on the West Bank were impacted. In usual fashion, the industry stuck its head in the sand and downplayed the problem “The official insisted that most of the chemical release is being burned before it reaches the air,” Fox8 News reported. This, despite foul air obvious enough to stir widespread alarm among residents.