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U.S. eyes European safety standards for oil refineries

Extracts from an article by Susan Buchanan published 14 April 2014 in “The Louisiana Weekly” and The Huffington Post

Oil refiners can learn from Europe as they try to reduce accidents at plants in Louisiana and other states, U.S. safety experts say. After a string of disasters, President Obama issued an executive order last August to improve chemical facility safety. A year before his directive, a fire at Chevron Corp.’s refinery in Richmond, Ca. filled the air with black smoke and particles, sending 15,000 residents in search of medical attention. An April 2010 explosion at Tesoro’s refinery in Anacortes, Wa. killed seven workers.

“Refineries all over the United States are dangerous,” United Steelworkers Local 13-12 spokesman Bob Landry said last week. He worked at ExxonMobil’s chemical plant in Baton Rouge for 36 years before retiring in 2008. The plant uses feedstock from the company’s oil refinery there. Landry, a former president of Local 13-12, said large European refineries that he visited have better safety records than their Louisiana counterparts.

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