Sunoco Refinery News: 2003

Nov 6:  Remote-controlled locomotive angers railroad union

TOLEDO -- "Beginning last week, two remote-control operators, but no fully qualified engineer, have been assigned to the 'Sun Job' that runs each weeknight between Homestead Yard in Oregon and the Sunoco Mid-America Refinery on the East Toledo-Oregon line, officials from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers said. The route crosses 13 public streets along the way, which the union says poses a safety hazard. Councilman Bob McCloskey, through whose district the route passes, said union members called him to warn that unmanned trains, 'run by remote control from some distant source,' soon would operate in East Toledo," David Patch, Toledo Blade.
Oct 10:   U.S. panel seeks input on Sunoco refinery

TOLEDO -- "Residents concerned about air emissions from Sunoco MidAmerica’s refinery at 1819 Woodville Rd. are encouraged to attend a public session Tuesday night at the East Toledo Family Center, 1020 Varland Ave. The session is to run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. It is being held by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a sister agency of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to hear complaints as part of an investigation. Residents will have an opportunity to assist the agency with air sampling, officials said. The refinery is more than 100 years old, and more than 57,000 people live within three miles of the refinery", Toledo Blade.
Sep 4:  Refinery opponents to aid health studies

TOLEDO -- "Beatrice Miringu, Toledo-area director of Ohio Citizen Action, said she wants members of the 'good neighbor campaign,' who met at the Locke branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library in East Toledo, to assist the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry by taking air samples at times when the refinery increases its emissions. The group wants reductions from Oregon's BP refinery too, but it's focusing on Sunoco because of its proximity to a residential area, Ms. Miringu said," Toledo Blade.

Aug 12:  Federal regulators plan to look at refinery emissions

TOLEDO -- "Philadelphia-based Sunoco Inc. is planning to modernize the [Toledo] refinery so it can meet new federal regulations for sulfur dioxide emissions that go into effect in 2005, said Olivia Summons, a refinery spokeswoman. 'We know we have a responsibility to employees, the contractors who work here, and the neighbors. We are environmentally responsible,' she said," Associated Press.

Aug 11:  Neighbors’ beef with Sunoco is heard
Inquiries to probe area health concerns

EAST TOLEDO -- "Oil droplets in swimming pools. Oil droplets on houses. Oil droplets on cars. East Toledo and Oregon residents have been irked for years by what appears to have fallen out of the sky. Others are now taking notice: . . . Ohio Citizen Action, the state’s largest activist group, has started a 'good neighbor'campaign, asking the Sunoco refinery to cut emissions voluntarily, Beatrice Miringu, Toledo-area director of Citizen Action, said. The group wants reductions from Oregon's BP refinery too, but is focusing on Sunoco because of its proximity to a residential area and its violation history, Ms. Miringu said. BP is more isolated, near the hazardous waste landfill operated by Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Inc. . . . Citizen Action’s campaign has generated interest -- the company has received 2,900 letters recently. Some writers want the refinery to curb emissions while others want it to take more precautions against spills, [refinery spokeswomen Olivia] Summons said. Don Moore, 71, of Patchen Road in Oregon, said he recently noticed leaves falling off an otherwise healthy tree in his backyard, which faces the Sunoco refinery. 'I was cutting grass. It was like a fine mist hitting my arms,' Mr. Moore said," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Aug 6:  What is this?

liquid jetOREGON -- "Sunoco's Toledo Refinery has been routinely spraying their neighbors with an unknown liquid. On Monday, August 4, between 1:25 pm and 1:45 pm, resident Sherry Gardner photographed this spraying from her front yard on Reswick Street near the refinery tank farm. According to Ms. Gardner, the liquid jet shot very high and the mist soaked her yard, the section of the street near her house, and her neighbors yard. In the past, during such spraying, residents have seen fire trucks and security personnel on-site, but not on Monday. After a recently spraying, Sunoco personnel showed up at Ms. Gardner's house to collect various samples, including leaves, dust from her air filter, and dust from her coffee table. Nearby residents want to know what chemicals are in this liquid. If it were just water, why the fire trucks? Why the security personnel? Why take samples from residents homes?," Beatrice Miringu, Toledo area director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Cindy Treece Aug 1:  WTOL TV-11 News reports on Sunoco Refinery good-neighbor campaign

TOLEDO -- Anchor Chrys Peterson and Angela Brown report on Ohio Citizen Action's good-neighbor campaign. Brown interviews George Whritenour and Cindy Treece, neighbors of the refinery; Beatrice Miringu, Ohio Citizen Action; and Olivia Summons, Sunoco. WTOL-TV News CBS.

Jun 18: 2,673 letters urge Sunoco to cut Toledo Refinery emissions

Toledo canvassers

Larger photo of Toledo field canvassers, with names

TOLEDO -- "As of today, Ohio Citizen Action field canvassers from our Toledo field office, and the statewide phone canvassers in Cleveland, have collected 2,673 handwritten letters and member names on sign-on letters urging Sunoco Toledo Refinery manager Roger Lyle to cut sharply the amount of toxic chemicals the refinery releases to the air and water. Today, the Toledo field canvass crew is canvassing in Napoleon," Ohio Citizen Action.
April 22: Sunoco Toledo Refinery mum on Saturday accident

OREGON -- "Early Saturday afternoon, neighbors of the Toledo Sunoco Refinery saw an unusual 'huge' flare and thick black smoke pouring out of one of the tall stacks at the refinery. The neighbors describe the smell as that of burning diesel or petroleum, distinct from the familiar sulfur smell of the plant. Some said it was strong enough to irritate the inside of their mouths; others said they felt 'foggy,' 'confused' and 'fatigued.' These reactions reportedly lasted through the early hours of Sunday morning. When neighbors called the refinery, a man named 'Mike' said it was 'an equipment failure,' and then balked at providing any other information -- including his own last name. The Ohio EPA confirmed an equipment failure, but likewise gave no details," Beatrice Miringu, Ohio Citizen Action.
Feb 24: Photos of Sunday's Sunoco Refinery fire

OREGON -- "On Sunday afternoon, February 23, neighbors saw a thick black smoke plume coming from Sunoco's Toledo Refinery. The smoke was visible from 10 miles away. Around 2:00 PM, neighbors saw intense flames and heard their windows rattle from "loud, thundering noises" like the sound of an airliner. One neighbor abandoned his snow shoveling because of the foul smell. Sunoco spokespeople said a power failure caused the fire.
Jan 11: Photo gallery:
Citizen Action surveys Sunoco Toledo Refinery neighbors on air pollution

Kelly Reed

TOLEDO -- "On Saturday, Sunoco Toledo Refinery neighbors told Ohio Citizen Action canvassers their experiences living next to the plant: foul smells, chemical spills, tiny oil droplets and oil residue in their pools, particulate deposits on their cars and houses, oil in the Navarre Park marsh, and house-shaking vibrations. They said these problems are worse at night and over the weekends. Some neighbors mentioned asthma and other respiratory problems among children, and others said they leave their windows closed to keep refinery odors out of their houses," Beatrice Miringu, Toledo Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Photo: Kelly Reed, Ohio Citizen Action Toledo Canvass Director, talks to refinery neighbors about air pollution problems.