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NEW ORLEANS, LA, Dec. 15, 2016 – As four Exxon workers remain in the burn unit from the November 22nd fire, no accident reports have been filed by Exxon with the National Response Center about the fire or other episodes in the two week period. Neighbors near the Exxon refinery reported five occasions of bad air during the same period.

“You can’t help but connect the dots,” said Anne Rolfes, Founding Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “If Rex Tillerson, the nominee for Secretary of State, does for the world what Exxon has done for Louisiana, God help us. We will all be hospitalized from accidents and choking on polluted air. And Mr. Tillerson will refuse to hold a press conference while he actively funds misinformation.”

The total number of reports about petrochemical accidents in Louisiana, both offshore and inland, was 71. Fifty-five of those accidents were reported to the National Response Center by the polluting company or passersby. The additional 16 were reported to iWitness.org by neighbors impacted by the pollution. Dr. Ezra Boyd of DisasterMap.net has been compiling the reports since October. “I’m shocked to see week after week, regular citizens are being sickened in their own homes by chemicals.”

The accidents reveal the ongoing infrastructure problems in the oil industry. Thirty of the 55 reports to the National Response Center were from some sort of equipment problem, including faulty flow lines, leaks, corrosion, failed valves, cracked pipes, split piping and more.
The report also examines an oil spill in a marsh near Cameron Parish. Oil spills in sensitive areas were shown, in a recent study by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, to accelerate land loss. The dynamics of climate change will also be discussed. The map released in today’s report shows that the average temperature in the state has been four degrees above normal in the last two weeks. The average temperature has been higher than normal for 15 straight weeks.

“There is just too much to talk about when we talk about the destruction of the oil industry,” said Ms. Rolfes. “Accidents, air pollution, burned workers, an eroding coastline, climate change. They get away with it because the harms are overwhelming. But we won’t stop. The industry is wrong. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is wrong.”

Report summary (map, key findings, spreadsheet of reports) available here.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to create an informed, healthy society with a culture that holds the petrochemical industry and government accountable for the true costs of pollution. www.labucketbrigade.org