From: The Lens
By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer |
The accidents unfold with eerie similarity: an unexpected explosion, a stubborn blaze, workers coughing and rubbing damaged eyes, a thick, ash-colored cloud of toxins racing away from the burning refinery.
On July 19, 2009, when a refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, lit up, a worker was critically hurt and the fire burned for two days. On Nov. 24, 1987, an explosion at an ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif., shot a fireball 1,500 feet into the air, blasted the windows out of nearby houses and generated allegations of broken eardrums, back pain and lung damage.
The common denominator in both explosions was a toxic chemical many Louisiana residents have never heard of, though more than 3.7 million people across the state are at risk if a similar explosion happens here, according to company filings submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. MORE