Word that four state and federal government agencies decided on their own last year that an open tray burn would be the best way to get rid of a stockpile of millions of pounds of increasingly unstable M6 propellant at Camp Minden didn't immediately trigger alarms.
But when the realization hit and folks like property owner Dolores Blalock began dissecting the components of the M6 pellets and realized the potential amount of cancer-causing toxins that would be released into the atmosphere through an extended open burn of more than 15 million pounds of M6, citizens throughout Northwest Louisiana rose united in opposition to the decision.
Environmental groups walked alongside striking oil refinery workers on the picket line outside the Motiva complex in Norco on Wednesday (Feb. 25) to support calls to improve safety and beef up staffing at refineries nationwide. Nearly 900 workers in St. Charles Parish joined the nationwide United Steelworkers union strike on Sunday.
Anne Rolfes, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, said it was important for her group to stand with workers as they push for a safer workplace.
It's day four on the picket line for members of the United Steelworkers Union. And today, local workers at Motiva Oil Refinery in Norco got a show of support from environmental groups. Anchor Sula Kim explains why the environmental groups are standing in solidarity with the workers. Braving the rain and cold termperatures, Anne Rolfes joined the picket line.
On June 13th in response to calls about a chemical odor, the Bucket Brigade deployed its Emergency Response Team to talk to the St. Rose community and take health surveys. Over 80% of residents interviewed by the Bucket Brigade reported health effects from vomiting to diarrhea.
The neighboring industrial facilities - Shell and IMTT - as well as the spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Quality stated that "we have found no levels [of air pollution] that are harmful to human health."
Despite these statements, community reports indicate that odors are a chronic problem in St. Rose and a process is not in place to adequately protect the health and safety of the fencline communities.
Wanda Weber "Stands Up"
Wanda Weber has been living in St. Rose her entire life. She's currently on oxygen, and when the odors intensified, she struggled to breathe. Her children had to rescue her from her home.
Watch this video to hear her story, her struggle, but most importantly, her reason for "standing up."