Environmental Groups Call For Change After Isaac Pollution Reports From Energy Industry

Sep 7, 2012

Three environmental groups say more than 90 reports of pollution triggered by Hurricane Isaac is evidence the energy industry needs greater oversight. They say depending on industry to monitor itself isn’t working.

Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade says oil refineries and related facilities didn’t adequately plan ahead when Isaac was approaching.

“If the oil industry were your neighbor, he’s the guy that doesn’t buy ice, doesn’t fill up his tank and doesn’t put away the chairs and table that fly into your house and break windows" Rolfes said. "They’re not responsible. Bottom line.”  

The state Department of Environmental Quality responded in a statement that damage was "minimal, especially considering the size and duration of the storm."

DEQ says many of the reports made to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center described minor damage. But Aaron Viles of the Gulf Restoration Network says he knows reports were made on serious concerns.

“We filed six of them. So we’re very cautious about what we put in those reports," said Viles. "We make sure that we aren’t overestimating. We’re good in putting in the good GPS. But some of those are industry reports, and some of them are just citizens who see something.”

Jill Mastrototaro of the Sierra Club says companies need more oversight.

“We need to have a trained workforce. We need to have enough workers at the facilities to prevent these kinds of accidents from happening. And secondly, we need to have regulators step up and raising the bar and holding these polluters and industries accountable for their actions.”  

The state says all reports of pollution will be investigated.