February 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm #2364
Aging refinery in Ferndale using lethal chemical
By Jennifer Kim Komonews Published Feb 24, 2011
SEATTLE — An ABC News investigation has revealed a lethal chemical is being used in aging refineries across the nation, including one here in Western Washington.
The investigation found at least 50 aging refineries use hydrofluoric acid, a deadly chemical, in the production of high-grade gasoline. And Ferndale’s Conoco Phillips is among those listed.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., warns these refineries are ticking time bombs.
“I think most people around the communities in Ferndale are unaware of the dangers of the chemical being used, and that there’s an alternative. It doesn’t have to be that way,” she said.
Murray says they could use less deadly chemicals, and the switch would only take a few hours time. And although it would be costly – nearly $50 million dollars, Murray says refineries must take action.
“They have been fighting regulation change for a very long time. So I’m saying,quit fighting. Just do it.”
Conoco Phillips refused to comment. But industry officials say in the 70 years that hydrofluoric acid has been used, there hasn’t been any incidents that have negatively impacted the community.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, however, has warned about the dangers of hydrofluoric acid for years.
February 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm #5235
Recent liberal/environmental advertising war attacking some most efficient, safe & profitable refinery process – after eliminating MTBE units & process they have moved on to the HF Alkylate gasoline process. When California led the attack on MTBE, Valero put out a good presentation (Hart Fuels Conf 2001) with a slide (#10) on gasoline blending entitled the “Sphincter diagram” which showed the crippling constraints on being able blend gasoline making all cumulative restrictions & why California (who has led all environmental legislation against refineries) has to pay $1.0-1.50/gallon more than rest US.
The ABC & Environmental Scare tactics, bent on spreading fear have used stats for 29+ Refinery fires or accidents and try infer these could have led to HF acid release with horrific loss (despite the fact in many more accidents and over 70 years use no such HF release even has transpired). ABC using liberal junk science has been latest lead for this propaganda distribution (source article & comments below) attacking/scaring populations of 50 cities near refineries using the HF process even though no such incidents have occurred on HF process put in/upgraded since WWII! (see Coffeyville type ABC article http://fourstateshomepage.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=174356).
The HF Acid claims are part of bigger push against Chlorine & Fluorine compounds however charges haven’t been placed against Government use Fluorine in our drinking water for teeth/health or Chlorine for purification. And as one article commenter points out – although no deaths have been reported from Refinery HF acid, several deaths have occurred from people miss-using chlorine bleach in homes with other chemicals. Yet no action is being pursued against home use Bleach? <Note see comments from others bottom page>
Unfortunately the United Steelworkers Union (USW) thru efforts VP Gary Beevers is also leading the attack against HF process calling for nationwide phase-out of HF units (http://www.fluorideaustralia.org/articleView.asp?Article=21). As leader of the 850,000 member union working has actively been with Serria Club & Citizens for Environmental Justice (Corpus) to eliminate the process. Obviously, Beevers putting the Liberal linkage of Unions, Environmentalist and Democratic platforms above the interest of his members and in process working to cannibalize their jobs. Worse in several challenges like Philadelphia & Corpus it has been refinery workers/USW representatives that provide inside information for the propaganda efforts.
The elimination of HF Alky process, and lets be real the later Sulfuric and Solid HF alternates, will punch yet another hole in profitability of refining operations in US. This will also be forcing shutdown on a large number of less complex US Cracking & Simple refineries along with LOT of USW union Refinery jobs and insure imports from all “Developing Countries” like China, India & S. America where there aren’t any environmental pressures. <USW has already let down US Steelworkers where China dumped undervalued steel & coal coke until over 21 companies were bankrupt and industry decimated before a US tariff forced China to back off.>
Refineries under attack by Liberals for HF Alky process:
Coffeyville – 3/38/11 (ABC Mat Mosk & CenterPublic Integerity attack 50cities creating fear with residents / no incident or basis HF release)
COP Ferndale – 2/24/11 (Patty Murray Democrat led attack / no incident)
Citgo Corpus – 3/11/09 (USW – one employee with thermal burns from fire not HF)
Sunoco Philadelphia – 7/19/09 (USW – 10 contractors sent hospital after fire resulted HF release but all released)
Big West Bakersfield hearing – 6/11/08 (State Senator Florez led charges)
February 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm #5234
FYI -A few very good conservative article response to liberal generated articles against refining & HF process:
Coffeyville article comment: #1 Lina Inverse 2011-02-25 09:35
While hydrofluoric acid is seriously nasty stuff there are good reasons why it’s used instead of alternatives like sulfuric acid.
I’d say one bottom line is that it has been used for a long time and yet there’s been no mass casualty accidents, which suggests that the industry has things well enough in hand. Sure, there’s risk involved, but the risks are far greater from the people who push these hysterical campaigns, seeing as how their thinly disguised goal is nothing less than the de-industrializati on of the US/world. For example, they want to end the use of chlorine; Lima, Peru took their advice and got themselves a cholera outbreak….
COP Ferndale comment: Opus8no5 02/25/11:
The USA has aging refineries because politicians have bowed to environmental groups, etc. and have prevented the building of much needed new refineries, oil and gas exploration, new nuclear plants and hydroelectric dams. There seems to be a commitment by the left to make available sources of energy so expensive that “green energy” will be competitive.
COP Ferndale comment: Pete1427 02/26/11:
There are several chemicals in the periodical table that are extremely hazardous to living mater.
Combinations of some of those chemicals often do not lessen their dangers.
One such chemical is cadmium which attacks the nervous system.
It is used with nickel to make Ni-Cad batteries and can readily be found in use
by our society. There is no mandate to eliminate it from use as it considered ‘green’
as it can replace other batteries that also harm the environment, but they can be recharged.
HCl—Hydrochloric acid, like Hydrofluoric acid, can release poisonous gasses into the
atmosphere. Those two elements Chlorine, and Fluorine are ones that have been proven
poisonous elements but are, in fact, used daily in our drinking water to prevent disease, and
tooth decay. (Chlorination, and Fluoridation are the processes used to make drinking water
safer and help prevent tooth decay)
HF has a proven history of being handled safely by industry. Fluorine is the dangerous element
in HF , but our government sees fluorine as fit and practical to use it in our drinking water to help
prevent tooth decay.
To the best of my knowledge there have been no deaths reported in the refineries from HF exposure,
but there have been a number of deaths caused by the improper use of chlorine bleach by individuals
in their home that ignorantly mix it with other cleaners that allow the release of chlorine( a close relative
of Fluorine and similar detrimental effects to the body) gas.
I do not see any government mandate to eliminate chlorine bleach and hope not to.
Patty Murray is crying “wolf” over this issue because she is either ignorant or stupid.
February 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm #5233
‘Death Cloud’ Could Kill Millions of Americans Who Live in Oil Refinery ‘Kill Zones,’ ABC Frets
By Alex Fitzsimmons | February 25, 2011
What do oil refineries and rental cars have in common? They will probably kill you, at least according to ABC’s Brian Ross.
Ross is either bored with his job or just doesn’t seem to care about frightening his viewers with exaggerated reports. But either way, ABC’s chief investigative correspondent is breathing new life into the term yellow journalism.
Those who are familiar with Ross’s work might notice an emerging pattern of sensationalism. The latest case studies concern oil refineries in Texas, which Ross’s colleague described as the “toxic threat next door,” and rental cars, which Ross himself cautioned are like “a consumer’s version of Russian roulette.”
The former report, appearing on the February 24 “Nightline,” focused on a CITGO oil refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas that uses hydrofluoric acid in the refining process. This chemical, Ross warned, has made “fear” a “fact of life” for residents of the local community.
An apocalyptic Ross foretold the end times: “An unchecked release of the hydrofluoric acid, as seen in this test film, creating a kind of death cloud that swept across the Nevada desert.”
Ross interviewed government scientists who spelled out the life-threatening effects of hydrofluoric acid and a few residents who “keep a bag packed at the door, ready to flee” if the aforementioned “death cloud” ever creeps up on them, but he only spoke with one source who supported the refinery and accused the oil industry of not taking safety seriously.
“You would admit it’s not a good safety record?” asked Ross, interviewing Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, even though Drevna made no such statement.
Ross parroted unnamed “officials” who claim that only “luck” has prevented the ominous “death cloud” from engulfing Corpus Christi: “Can you really rely on luck to protect the American public?”
Drevna retorted that the industry relies on “technology,” not luck, to ensure safety, but Ross would not let the facts get in the way of a good story: “Hardly reassuring words for the people of Corpus Christi who hear the sirens all day and all night, wondering if this is the day their luck will run out.”
Residents of Corpus Christi are not the only people who should fear for their lives. Ross cited a study by the Center for Public Integrity, a liberal group, to fret that “16 million unsuspecting Americans [live] in potential kill zones.”
That’s right, Ross implied that millions of “unsuspecting” Americans live in areas that could be swept up in a “death cloud” at any moment.
If the story of the boy who cried wolf has a moral, it has been lost on Ross, who frequently hyperbolizes the findings of his “investigations,” often to paint a depressing picture of the future.
In 2005, Ross sensationally hyped the epidemic potential of bird flu: “It could kill a billion people worldwide, make ghost towns out of parts of major cities, and there is not enough medicine to fight it. It is called the avian flu.”
Fast forward to August 2009, when Ross drew a ludicrous connection between health care town hall protesters and racist hate groups, quoting Mark Potok of the left wing Souther Poverty Law Center: “I think that the president has, in effect, triggered fears among a fairly large numbers [sic] of white people in this country that they are somehow losing their country.”
On January 18, 2010, Ross bizarrely asserted that U.S. soldiers were “endangered” by “secret Jesus codes” scrawled on rifles used in Afghanistan.
And just this morning, on “Good Morning America,” Ross somberly proclaimed that “renting a car may be a consumer’s version of Russian roulette.”
Apparently convinced that death lurks behind every corner, Ross has yet to file a “Nightline” investigation into the threat posed by his own shadow (that’s called hyperbole).
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