Refinery Fenceline Communities

A new post from the Air Hugger blog reports that EPA environmental justice representatives just acknowledged for the first time that a couple of refinery fenceline communities in Texas are too close to refineries to protect public health.  Those of us who live within a few miles of the three Billings and Laurel, Montana refineries, clustered within 10 miles of each other, have long hoped for some better information about how close is too close.

EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory provides a list of toxic releases in any ZIP code you input.  Plains Justice’s office is in 59101, where our neighbors include the Conoco Phillips Billings Refinery and Exxon Mobil Billings Refinery.  The list of toxins released here includes benzene, lead, mercury, and of particular interest: dioxin, which is unsafe to humans in any quantity.  Down the road in Laurel (ZIP code 59044) is the CHS Laurel Refinery, with a similar emission profile, minus the dioxin.  Our community deserves to know what’s safe and what’s not – and if scientists are changing their minds about how much exposure really is dangerous.

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