Sunoco Toledo Refinery

Dec 28: Refinery pipe spills gasoline ingredients
Tests find minimal presence of benzene

OREGON -- "A leak at Oregon's Sunoco refinery early Monday morning forced dozens of workers to stay home yesterday. About 100 gallons of gasoline components leaked from an underground pipeline on the north side of the Sunoco Inc.'s refinery at 1819 Woodville Rd., near an ongoing construction project there. Officials said about five or six gallons of the leak included a carcinogenic gaseous component known as benzene," Tad Vezner, Toledo Blade.

Nov 10:  World premiere of "The Sunoco Refinery is our Neighbor"


David Ryder, director of "The Sunoco Refinery is our Neighbor"

CLEVELAND -- "David Ryder's short film, 'The Sunoco Refinery is our Neighbor,' showed today at 9:00 A.M. as part of the Ohio Independent Film Festival. The film details the refinery's pollution effects and includes interviews with several neighbors of the refinery," Ohio Citizen Action.

Sep 22:  Sunoco outlines Toledo refinery improvements, plans to meet deadlines early


TOLEDO -- "In a meeting with refinery neighbors, company officials, workers and members of the Sunoco Neighbors Task Force, Sunoco Environmental Manager Pete Hanley outlined the new settlement between Sunoco and the USEPA. Hanley also announced Sunoco Toledo refinery's plans to finish the biggest pollution reduction equipment much earlier than expected. The Fluidized Catalytic Cracker Unit Scrubber and Selective Catalytic Reduction Units, as well as the significant improvements to the Sulfur Recovery Unit and the installation of a backup sulfur recovery unit are planned for completion by November, 2008. This would beat the settlement's deadlines by two years. 'I'm really, really, really happy,' said Heather Wolfe, a refinery neighbor. Neighbors can call the Sunoco message line, 419-698-6700, to hear construction updates or disrupted operations at the plant. If you want to talk with someone at the plant, or register a complaint, call 419-698-6600. You may also receive updates on the improvements at www.sunocoinc.com/ToledoCAP," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action.

Aug 22:  Ohio Citizen Action suspends Sunoco campaign
Company commits to revamping refinery

OREGON -- "Dear Roger (Lyle, Sunoco plant manager), I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate you formally on Sunoco's recent settlement with USEPA. I know you have been anxious to get started on the improvements and upgrades at your East Toledo-Oregon facility... To this end, Ohio Citizen Action is suspending the public pressure of our good neighbor campaign. We do this in good faith, looking ahead towards meeting the goals of working together to make the East Toledo and Oregon communities the cleanest and safest possible; as well as improving the dialogue between the near neighbors and the Sunoco refinery," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action.

Aug 1:  Activists voice optimism for Sunoco refinery's $200M improvement plan


OREGON -- "Cautiously optimistic. One might think the upcoming $200 million modernization of the century-old Sunoco Inc. refinery along the East Toledo-Oregon border would generate more calm in Rachael Belz, even though she leads Ohio Citizen Action's campaign for fewer emissions from that plant. After all, Sunoco is making plans to install $100 million in additional pollution controls at that refinery alone, as part of an agreement the company hammered out with the government in June to settle federal Clean Air Act violations dating to 1998 at its four refineries...'What I'm cautiously optimistic about is that this settlement will lead us to be able to resolve all these issues,' Ms. Belz said. The refinery has been the target of ongoing complaints about noxious odors and fumes that the environmental group has logged. 'We're looking to wrap up issues the settlement does not address, namely how neighbors will get information before the changes occur,' she said," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

Jul 27:  Sunoco neighbors want results now

OREGON -- "Neighbors of Sunoco's Toledo Refinery, along with Ohio Citizen Action, National Refinery Reform Campaign, and Environmental Integrity Project, are asking the federal government to speed up the timeline on pollution control improvements which are due to be made at the refinery by the end of 2009. The groups commented, 'Given Sunoco's troubled record of serious flarings, fires, explosions, and upsets in recent years, it is possible that allowing the refinery to wait until a planned turnaround in 2009 could result in significant health threats to the community and a catastrophic accident.'The organizations also recommended several additional changes in the pending consent decree between U.S. EPA and Sunoco, including requirements for pollution prevention, fenceline monitoring, and tightening loopholes on exemptions during start-ups and shutdowns," Ohio Citizen Action, 41 kb doc..
MORE ON SUNOCO REFINERY
Jul 18:  Neighbors celebrate Sunoco settlement

OREGON -- "Heather Wolfe, neighbor of the East Toledo Sunoco Refinery, celebrates the U.S. EPA vs. Sunoco settlement by diving into a lake at Maumee Bay State Park despite her lack of a swimsuit. Neighbors celebrated the recent announcement of the Sunoco settlement and planned next steps in working with the refinery," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action.

Jun 30:  Oregon: Architects reveal school building plans
Coy to be completely rebuilt


TOLEDO -- "Representatives from TCI/TMP Architects explained their plan for five of the district's schools with the schematic designs they reviewed with the Oregon Board of Education and about 15 community members at a special meeting last week. Coy Elementary School is the only building that will be completely rebuilt...Coy School, 2630 Pickle Rd., is a priority for the district because of its proximity to the Sunoco refinery's tank farm and because it's 78 years old," Erika Ray, Toledo Blade.

Jun 17:  Sunoco told to spend $285M on refineries

OREGON -- "The federal government said yesterday that it will require Sunoco to invest $285 million at its four refineries, including the one on Woodville Road in Oregon, to settle outstanding Clean Air Act violations. Though Sunoco wouldn't say just how much of the $285 million would be spent at the Oregon facility, nearly half the company's total reductions for sulfur dioxide are to come from that plant alone, according to Ohio EPA figures. The refinery last year was fined $475,000 by the Ohio Attorney General's office for excessive sulfur dioxide emissions dating to 1988. The refinery will be required to reduce its annual sulfur dioxide emissions by 18.8 million pounds over current levels. The government requires Sunoco to reduce its emissions of that pollutant by 39 million pounds a year companywide. Sulfur dioxide is a major lung irritant and potential trigger of childhood asthma that was a focus of a recent health study performed in the East Toledo-Oregon area by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Oil refiner Valero must make upgrades, Dina Capiello, Houston Cronicle.

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Sunoco, Valero to install better pollution controls, Harold Brubaker, Philadelphia Inquirer.

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Feds, Valero reach a deal, Scott Streater, Star-Telegram.
Jun 16:  Sunoco to cut emissions

Sunoco logoDALLAS, TX -- "The refiner Sunoco said Thursday it would spend $275 million over eight years to cut emissions of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides by about 78%. The program will improve emissions as its Philadelphia, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania; Toledo, Ohio; and Tulsa, Oklahoma, refineries," Lisa Sanders, MarketWatch.

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Sunoco to implement environmental improvement projects. "Sunoco, Inc. said today that it will implement significant environmental improvement projects at its Philadelphia, PA, Marcus Hook, PA, Toledo, OH, and Tulsa, OK refineries that will reduce emissions of SO2 (sulfur dioxides) and NOx (nitrogen oxides) by approximately 78 percent," release, Sunoco.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Refineries to spend $1 billion to cut pollution, John Heilprin, Associated Press.

WASHINGTON, DC -- United States announces clean air agreements with Valero and Sunoco; Two petroleum refiners to reduce harmful emissions by 44,000 tons annually, release, U.S. EPA.

May 29:  New 15-minute DVD:
The Sunoco refinery is our neighbor


Willow Cemetery

OREGON -- "The teachers said 60% of their kids were on inhalers at Coy School [next to the refinery]. . . My son couldn't eat when he was at Coy School. It was weird. "Just give me an apple, Mom. I can't eat. I'm too sick at school." . . . I'd have to go pick him up. Finally, I couldn't pick him up anymore. My in-laws would pick him up. They'd say as soon as they got him home, he was fine. . . It was always after recess, and he'd say to me, "Mom, the smell at recess is so bad." If he was here, he'd tell you that girls would fall down on the stairs and lose their balance. Kids crying all the time. They were small skinny kids. They'd play baseball all the time. The Coy School kids were the joke of all the schools in Oregon. The kids were so underweight. He was in 6th grade and weighed 60 pounds. By the time he was in the eighth grade, he weighed 120 because he was out of there. He was unable to eat when he went to school. The difference in the size of Coy School kids compared to other kids, like from Jerusalem or Wynn [Elementary Schools] -- they were just very small," Anita Laporte, Oregon resident, formerly worked next to Sunoco, Ohio Citizen Action. For more information, contact Todd Pincombe, (216) 861-5200.
May 11 - 12:  Sunoco refinery flares, smokes, during Oregon, Ohio demonstration of CEREX UV Hound air monitor

Sunoco flaring

During the air testing, the Sunoco refinery began flaring, accompanied by billowing smoke. This picture was taken from a playground on Woodville Road. Photo by Sarah Rochte, Ohio Citizen Action.

TOLEDO -- "Community leader Hilton Kelley from Port Arthur, Texas, brought a state-of-the-art air pollution monitor to Toledo to demonstrate its real-time emission detection capabilities. The EPA-certified monitor, called the CEREX UV Hound, was designed at MIT and manufactured by Cerex Environmental Services in Atlanta. Neither Sunoco nor the Ohio EPA have anything comparable. Hilton Kelley is Executive Director of Community In-power and Development Association (CIDA) in Port Arthur, Field Coordinator of the Refinery Reform Campaign and Chairperson of the National Bucket Brigade Coalition," Ohio Citizen Action.
Apr 30:  Judge approves Sunoco subpoena settlement: Neighbors' privacy protected

Sunoco refinery

TOLEDO -- "On Friday, Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks approved a settlement of the dispute over Sunoco's subpoena demand for confidential health information on Sunoco refinery neighbors in East Toledo and Oregon, Ohio. The settlement was reached to the satisfaction of both Ohio Citizen Action and Sunoco. 'I am delighted to announce that Sunoco neighbors' privacy was fully protected by this settlement,' said Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action. 'This victory was made possible with the help of thousands of people in Oregon, Toledo, and across Ohio and the country. Our attorney, Bruce French, did a superb job. I can't thank them all enough."

Buchanan said: "This settlement can be a turning point. It can be the occasion for neighbors and the company to begin constructive talks on the underlying problem of toxic pollution. We had hoped to be able to announce such talks at the same time as the subpoena settlement. To that end, on April 8, Todd Pincombe, our Northwest Ohio Program Director, wrote to Joel Maness, Sunoco's Senior Vice President for Refining and Supply. Pincombe proposed that we jointly announce such talks, to be held either in Philadelphia or Oregon. Mr. Maness has yet to acknowledge the letter, but our offer still stands,'" Ohio Citizen Action. TOLEDO -- Activist group to provide Sunoco with health survey, Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
Apr 27:  Is Toledo's Sunoco refinery a safety and health threat?

Cover artTOLEDO -- "Heather Wolfe lives on Mambrino Street, directly east of the facility. 'I have migraines every day, normal headaches, sinus problems, nausea. Even my pets get sick,' Wolfe said. Milo Espinosa is co-owner of the J and M Carry-out at 2115 Navarre Ave., directly across the street from the refinery. 'Every day I get hit with this smell (from the refinery) and feel like Iím going to faint,' she says. 'Now Iím on medication for allergic reactions in my nose, throat and eyes. I never had those allergies before.' Sara Jackson, who lives a few blocks north of Sunoco, says the smell Espinosa describes has been getting worse 'over the last 7 - 8 years' and is now 'the worst itís ever been.' Wolfe is the chair of the East Side-Oregon Environmental Group ó neighbors seeking to work with Sunoco on developing resolutions to the health complaints," Steve Steel, Toledo City Paper.
MORE ON THE SUNOCO REFINERY
Apr 22:  Accident concerns taken to Sunoco by fifteen activists

OREGON -- "Citing concerns about the potential for an accident similar to one a month ago at a Texas refinery that killed 15 people, demonstrators from Ohio Citizen Action gathered yesterday afternoon near Sunoco's East Toledo refinery to deliver a letter to the plant manager and place leaflets at nearby homes. 'This tragedy in Texas City is a reminder of the ongoing threat to refinery workers and neighbors,' said Todd Pincombe, the program director for Ohio Citizen Action," Toledo Blade.
Apr 21:  Population explosion

Sunoco continues to use one of the most hazardous chemicals known to man, even though activists contend there are safer alternatives

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- "On the afternoon of Sept. 20, 1994, several mysterious yellow clouds floated eerily above the treetops in Southwest Philadelphia. Local residents remember looking up at the sky with a marked sense of fear. 'We figured it had come from the refinery, and we had no idea whether the stuff was dangerous,' recalls Al Caporali, who lives in the community adjacent to the Sunoco Oil refinery. It turned out that the cloud had formed after silica dust escaped from an aging catalytic cracker at the plant, which then went by the name Sun Oil Co. While the particles from this oily powder scratched eyes and throats, health officials assured the public that it posed no long-term health risks. Still, by the time this scare occurred, Caporali and his neighbors were thoroughly fed up with breathing the black smoke that routinely belched from the refinery stacks. And their noses could barely tolerate the stench of sulfur dioxide that permeated the air," Gwen Shaffer, Philadelphia Weekly.
Apr 20: Press advisory for April 21

One month after Texas City, Sunoco Refinery neighbors want to know: Could a major accident happen here?

OREGON -- "One month after the tragedy at the refinery in Texas City, Texas, residents want Sunoco to answer questions about what to do in the event of a major accident. Immediately following the press conference canvassers will be distributing brochures entitled, '10 simple things you can do to protect your health when the refinery has an accident' throughout the neighborhood," press advisory, Todd Pincombe, Ohio Citizen Action, Mary Nemick, Earth Day Network, Denny Larson, National Refinery Reform Campaign.
Apr 13:  Sunoco sued; South Philadelphia toxic emissions alleged

Sampling map
Al Caporali and Christine Knapp show where neighbors took air samples, June 2003.
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- "The Philadelphia refinery repeatedly emitted illegal levels of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds, according to the lawsuit. The violations are detailed in Sunoco's own reports to Air Management Services, the city agency responsible for enforcing air-quality rules in the city, said the group's attorney, Michael Fiorentino. . . The community group has taken on Sunoco before - and gotten results. In 1997, after threatening a lawsuit, members joined with city officials to negotiate a $5.5 million settlement with the oil refiner. Most of that sum went toward installing better pollution controls. This time, they want Sunoco to implement a new leak-detection program and to install a variety of equipment, including electronic controls that would avert the need to flare excess gases. The group also wants the company to pay unspecified millions in government fines," Tom Avril, Philadelphia Inquirer.

WILMINGTON, DE -- Group accuses Sunoco of violations, Jeff Montgomery, Wilmington New Journal.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Philadelphia area residents file pollution lawsuit against Sunoco refinery; Years of inaction by federal, state regulatory agencies leave violations unresolved; Group that drove $5.5 million Sunoco cleanup in late 1990s presses again, release, Environmental Integrity Project.
Mar 11:  Crowd slams refinery actions
Sunoco says 21 incidents are typical

OREGON -- "Nearly 50 protesters yesterday demanded improvements from Sunoco Inc., saying they're fed up with emissions from the East Toledo-Oregon refinery in general and angry in particular about 21 reported events in the last six months. The protest was tied to an Ohio Citizen Action report about 21 abnormal releases that Sunoco has put in writing for Toledo's Environmental Services Division since September. A class-action lawsuit was filed against Sunoco in 2004 by a Detroit law firm that specializes in refinery cases. Lou Tosi of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP has been retained by Sunoco. In November, he convinced Judge Ruth Ann Franks of Lucas County Common Pleas Court to issue an order against Ohio Citizen Action for names, addresses, and background information of area residents who have complained to the environmental group about the refinery. Citizen Action has appealed that ruling in U.S. District Court," Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
Mar 10:  New report on Sunoco's Oregon Refinery:
21 accidents in the last six months

Heather Wolfe

Sunoco neighbor Heather Wolfe, right, speaks at today's press conference in Oregon, at which the new report was released. Ohio Citizen Action's Rachael Belz is to the left.

OREGON -- "During the past six months (September 1, 2004 - February 28, 2005), Sunoco's Oregon Refinery has had 21 accidents. The accidents varied, but included releases of the following pollutants: sulfur dioxide, black smoke, particulates, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, butane, natural gas, refinery fuel gas, and nitrogen oxide. In almost 40% of the accidents, Sunoco released more than one type of pollutant. One-third of the 21 accidents involved sulfur dioxide releases, with six of the seven being permit violations. Neighbors have complained for years of sulfur and 'rotten egg' smells from the refinery. . . . From the information Sunoco submitted to Toledo Environmental Services, it appears that most of the actions taken at the time of the upsets were of a 'band-aid' nature, rather than a long-term fix. This may explain why in the past six months Sunoco has had similar problems with the same pieces of equipment. Ohio Citizen Action has found this to be the case in former Sunoco accident reports as well: Sunoco Oregon Refinery - Upsets, accidents and malfunctions 2002-2003, Ohio Citizen Action, August 18, 2004," report, Rachael Belz, Crystal Cottrill, Spencer Dennis, Ohio Citizen Action, 88 KB doc.

TV 11 logoOREGON -- Watchdog group outlines Sunoco Refinery environmental concerns. "'The flames on the weekend sometimes are so huge that the whole area is just lit up,' says Melody Dutton. 'Neighbors have been complaining for years about the smells, the sounds the explosions the flares and black smoke. We need the company to take the neighbors seriously and work together with the community,' says Rachel Belz of Ohio Citizens Action. . .Anita LaPorte says the emissions at times are so bad she has to wear a respirator anytime she gets near the refinery. For years she and Shirley Jacobs worked a block from the plant. Both believe the fumes have affected their health. "I get nauseous. I get migraines. It affects my heart," says Anita LaPorte," WTOL TV 11 News.
Mar 8:  MEDIA ADVISORY
"Sunoco Oregon Refinery: 21 Accidents in the Last Six Months" report to be released


OREGON -- "On Thursday, March 10 Ohio Citizen Action and Eastside-Oregon Environmental Group will hold a press conference at the parking lot of J and M Carryout, 2115 Navarre Ave in Oregon. We will release a report detailing how Sunoco needs to stop chronic accidents, and inform neighbors about accidents and what is released. Sunoco reports this information to the Toledo Environmental Services, which Ohio Citizen Action used to compile the report, but doesn't give the same information to its neighbors. From September 1, 2004 to February 28, 2005, Sunoco’s Oregon Refinery has had 21 accidents including releases of the following pollutants: sulfur dioxide, black smoke, particulates, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, butane, natural gas, refinery fuel gas, and nitrogen oxide," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action.
Dominic Asante
Sunoco attorney Dominic Asante
Feb 24:  Attorney says Sunoco will continue to seek neighbors' personal health information

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- ". . .so long as plaintiffs maintain claims of personal injury, the requested information remains necessary to the defense of the matter," Dominic Asante, Chief Counsel, Government Affairs and Special Litigation Projects, Sunoco, letter to Rick Hind, Legislative Director, Greenpeace, Feb 14, 2005.

The 'plaintiffs' Mr. Asante refers to are part of a class action suit known as 'Clarke v. Sunoco.' Ohio Citizen Action had nothing to do with the filing of the suit, and is not a party to it.

Feb 21:  Former top U.S. regulator challenges Sunoco

OREGON -- "I'm writing to ensure that you are aware of ongoing Sunoco actions involving the community around Sunoco's Toledo refinery. Sunoco is a CERES member and advertises its commitment to the CERES principles, yet actions by Sunoco's counsel appear to conflict with those principles. I am referring specifically to Sunoco's efforts to require Ohio Citizen Action to disclose personal medical information provided to Citizen Action, in confidence, by people living near Sunoco's Toledo refinery...it is hard to see how Sunoco can effectively minimize health risks from its refinery if the community is afraid to talk about its health concerns with groups like Ohio Citizen Action, which are trying to bring such concerns to Sunoco's attention," Eric Schaeffer, Director, Environmental Integrity Project, letter to John Drosdick, CEO, Sunoco, Inc.
  • Eric Schaeffer was the chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's civil enforcement office for a dozen years, serving Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Feb 14:  Citizen Action urges DeWine to intervene in Sunoco demand for personal health data

Mike DeWine
U.S. Senator Mike DeWine, in front of a John Singer Sargent portrait of U.S. Senator Calvin Brice (Allen County Museum).
TOLEDO -- "Sunoco's attorney, Louis Tosi, is demanding that Ohio Citizen Action turn over the names, addresses and phone numbers of the questionnaire respondents, along with their personal medical information. This request is not only immoral, since health information should be private, but also could set a dangerous precedent for other communities who might want to conduct their own health questionnaires. Two options to turning over confidential medical information have been offered. Ohio Citizen Action is willing to provide the medical information without the names and contact information attached, or could seek releases from the individual respondents before turning over this private medical information. To date, Mr. Tosi has rejected both options. Please help us look into what might be done to help bring a swift resolution to this matter. I've encouraged Ohio Citizen Action members to write you directly to support this request, as I know you have been very helpful in helping to resolve other community issues in the past," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action, letter to U.S. Senator Mike DeWine.
Feb 11:  Goldman Prize winner tells Sunoco: "Your neighbors need to know that you are not going to insist on invading their privacy"

OREGON -- "Margie Richard, winner of the 2004 Goldman Environmental Prize, has asked Sunoco CEO John Drosdick to withdraw his company's demand for the personal medical information of the refinery's neighbors in Toledo. Richard led the residents of Norco, Louisiana, in their successful campaign to have Shell buy out their community and move the neighbors away from the refinery. The Goldman prize honors one environmental leader on each continent every year. Richard writes, 'Whatever the solution is near your Toledo refinery, your neighbors need to know that you are willing to work with them and that you are not going to insist on invading their privacy,'" Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action.
Feb 7:  Ohio physicians, nurses call on Sunoco "to restore good faith with the community"

Urge Toledo Refinery owner to drop its demand for neighbors' personal medical information

TOLEDO -- "As physicians and nurses, we are appalled to hear that Sunoco's attorney in Toledo is demanding that confidential medical information obtained through a community health questionnaire be turned over to them. We realize that this legal move may have been made without consultation with you. . . Confidentiality of medical information is a primary and sacred precept of our profession. The individuals who filled out these questionnaires did so with the understanding that their individual data would be kept confidential, and they certainly did not give their permission for the data to be given to Sunoco's attorneys. You have the opportunity to restore good faith with the community by instructing your attorney to drop the demand for personal medical information and to accept the aggregate or redacted data," letter from 18 Ohio physicians and nurses to John Drosdick, CEO, Sunoco, Inc., February 4, 2005.

CHICAGO, IL -- A one-woman health crusade, An Orland Park woman is determined to prove that benzene emissions from a former refinery caused illnesses in her children and in others, Jennifer Skalka, Chicago Tribune.
Jan 28:  ConocoPhillips agrees to clean-air settlement

Refiner to spend $525 million to cut harmful emissions in Texas, elsewhere

HOUSTON, TX -- "Houston-based ConocoPhillips, the largest petroleum refiner in the United States, agreed Thursday to spend $525 million to reduce harmful, smog-forming emissions at nine refineries, including two in Texas, and to pay a $4.5 million fine to settle federal charges that it violated air pollution laws. The settlement, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, is just shy of the largest, reached earlier with Motiva, which required that company to invest $550 million. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department began investigating oil refineries in 2000. The settlement is the largest, in terms of the amount of oil the company refines, since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice began investigating the nation's oil refineries in 2000," Dina Cappiello, Houston Chronicle.

Anne Rolfes
Anne Rolfes
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Air accord covers Belle Chasse plant; ConocoPhillips to cut emissions, pay fine. "'The problem with all these settlements is that there's no way to verify them,' said Anne Rolfes, director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an organization that trains people living near chemical plants and refineries to take their own air samples. 'To date, Louisiana has a really poor monitoring program and the refineries have nothing outside their fencelines,' she said. Denny Larson, coordinator of the San Francisco-based National Refinery Reform Campaign, said EPA also has not enforced the existing agreements, allowing several companies to extend deadlines for installing pollution equipment without reporting those changes to the courts responsible for overseeing the earlier consent agreements. In December, for example, the Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram reported that EPA allowed 25 refineries to miss court-mandated emission deadlines. That's one reason that Citizens for Environmental Justice, a Corpus Christi, Texas, organization, petitioned the U.S. District Court in Houston to hold up on a similar consent agreement affecting Citgo refineries, including one in Lake Charles, he said.," Mark Schleifstein, New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Jan 26:  Greenpeace USA calls on Sunoco to withdraw its demand for Toledo refinery neighbors health information

Greenpeace logoWASHINGTON, DC -- "Ohio Citizen Action has already given your attorneys the aggregate health data, along with the names of the streets where the surveys were conducted. They have offered to ask each individual whether they choose to release their own health information. Ohio Citizen Action has also offered to give Sunoco the individual surveys with the names and addresses redacted. Sunoco's attorney claims that they need individual health data to make their case in defense of a class action lawsuit that has been filed against them. If this is so, Sunoco can conduct its own health survey. Personal medical information is considered private in this country. . . We do not understand why Sunoco wants to violate the privacy of its neighbors. Sunoco would be better served to spend its resources cleaning up and modernizing the Toledo Refinery, which has had a series of accidents and releases of dangerous pollutants over the past several years. Ohio Citizen Action and the participants in their health survey were performing a valuable public health service. This unseemly demand for personal information by Sunoco is not only unethical but could easily be used by Sunoco to intimidate survey participants," letter, Rick Hind, Legislative Director, Greenpeace Toxics Campaign, to John Drosdick, CEO, Sunoco, Inc.. 125 KB doc.
Jan 20:  Rule eased for some emissions at three refineries

TOLEDO -- "Three Ohio refineries -- ones operated in the Toledo area by Sunoco Inc. and BP plus one operated in the Lima area by Premcor Inc. -- use special boilers to burn off carbon monoxide that's captured instead of being vented into the atmosphere. . . The two agencies question whether it's worth their time and money to regulate what little nitrogen oxide -- by comparison -- comes out of those specialized carbon monoxide boilers at refineries. . . Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action associate director, said that 'exempting certain companies from dealing with their pollution is a bad idea,'" Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
Jan 12:  As crude as it gets

CLEVELAND -- "From Toledo comes a cautionary tale for Ohio environmentalists: Everything you do can and will be used against you in what passes around here for a court of law. Last summer, Ohio Citizen Action conducted a health survey of East Toledo residents living near a Sunoco refinery. The group hoped the results -- such as 60 percent of respondents complaining of headaches and almost one-third suffering from asthma, shortness of breath, and fatigue -- would persuade Lucas county to launch its own study. But Sunoco turned the tables. In defending a suit brought by area residents, the company's attorney demanded that Citizen Action turn over every scrap of paper pertaining to its survey, including the names and medical histories of respondents. Citizen Action refused; participants had been told that their personal info would be kept confidential. But a Lucas County judge sided with Sunoco. In a letter to the court, Citizen Action offered to provide the results of the survey; a list of the streets on which respondents live; and copies of the questionnaires with names and addresses blanked out. But none of that was good enough, leading Citizen Action to believe that Sunoco is just trying to intimidate residents. To rub more salt into the wound, Sunoco attorney Louis Tosi -- of the firm Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Tosi -- has also demanded that Citizen Action pay his fees and provide the soul of a virgin," Cleveland Scene.
Jan 6:  George R. Jahns, 1954 - 2005

OREGON -- "George R. Jahns, 50, of Oregon, Ohio, passed away Tuesday, January 4, 2005, in St. Charles Mercy Hospital. He was born in Toledo, Ohio on December 5, 1954, to Otto and Bertha (Spitler) Jahns. George was a US Army Veteran of the Vietnam War serving in the 101st Airborne Division. He was employed with Fab Steel as a welder. Surviving George is his wife of 23 years, Isla; daughter, Topaz Jahns; son, Harvey Michael Thomas; stepdaughter, Nichol Salvo; stepson, Tandy Friley; brothers, Melvin, Victor (Toby), Jack and Russell Jahns; sisters, Bertha (Bill) Prince, Angeline (Harry) Myers, Shirley Jahns and Charlotte (Fred) Frost and 2 step-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Otto Jr. Visitation will be held on Friday, January 7, 2005, from 2 until 9 p.m. in the Eggleston Meinert Pavley Funeral Home, Oregon Chapel, 440 S. Coy Road, Oregon, Ohio. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the funeral home. Interment will be private," obituary, Toledo Blade.

With his wife Isla, George Jahns was a founder and leader of the East Side - Oregon Environmental Group, an organization of neighbors working to reduce Sunoco Refinery pollution.



TOLEDO -- Action stars. "The folks at the activist organization Ohio Citizen Action have been busy lately. The group is currently inovlved in a lawsuit with Sunoco Oil's Toledo refinery over a door-to-door health questionnaire that the group conducted with residents who live near the refinery. Ohio Citizen Action accuses Sunoco attorney Louis Tosi of intimidation tactics in the company's demand that Ohio Citizen Action turn over the questionnaire. In addition, the group's Web site deails information on several other local campaigns that Ohio Citizen Action is involved in," Jason Webber, Toledo City Paper.
Jan 3:  Ohio Citizen Action appeals court ruling on Sunoco health surveys

John Drosdick
John Drosdick, Sunoco CEO,
Chairman and President.
Proposes mediation on subpoena issue

TOLEDO -- On December 22, Bruce French, attorney for Ohio Citizen Action, filed an appeal of the Lucas County Common Pleas November court ruling in the Sunoco Toledo Refinery case. The court declined to set aside Sunoco's subpoena for confidential neighbor health surveys that Citizen Action had collected in August. In its appeal to the Ohio Sixth District, Citizen Action said that mediation could help settle the conflict. "With Court assistance, there may be a way to resolve this discovery issue," French said.
News from 2004
News from 2003