2 local industries named among top polluters

Published 11:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

Eight Louisiana facilities were ranked among the top public waterway polluters in the U.S. Local industries Citgo Refinery and Phillips 66 were named in the report.

Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) analyzed public records from 81 refineries, according to an article in The Advocate.

One of the report’s conclusions is that much of the water pollution from oil refineries today is legal because EPA and most states have failed to regulate it, according to the press release from the Washington D.C.-based environmental nonprofit founded by former EPA attorneys.

The Clean Water Act requires EPA to set limits for pollutants from industrial sources and update them at least every five years as treatment technologies improve. But EPA has never set any limits for refinery discharges of many pollutants, including selenium, benzene, cyanide, mercury and others. EPA has failed to update limits established nearly four decades ago.

Phillips 66 in Lake Charles ranked No. 7 for releases of nickel. The Advocate article states that these toxic metals mutate fish, persist in the environment for long periods and travel up the food chain.

Citgo refinery ranked No. 8 for nitrogen release, a nutrient that feeds algal blooms and is a contributor to the Gulf of Mexico’s low-oxygen dead zone.

Citgo and Phillips 66 did not respond to requests for comments, deferring to petroleum trade groups.