Some Local Refineries May Be Putting Neighbors At Risk With Chemical

Upstream Oil and Gas ActivitiesDisasters and AccidentsMeteorological DisastersHurricanes and Tropical StormsMurphy Oil CorporationWGNO

An ABC News investigation reveals dozens of refineries may be putting employees and neighbors at risk with a potentially deadly chemical. The investigation points to three refineries in the Greater New Orleans area.

Karen Patcheco loves her Meraux house, and living near her family. She just doesn't like knowing the potential dangers that could happen living right next to the the Murphy Oil Refinery.

"To think it's going to happen, I say no. I hope that it doesn't happen. Just like with hurricane Katrina, we hope that it didn't happen, but it did," Patcheco said.

Hurricane Katrina did happen and despite the damage it caused including a massive oil spill, some homeowners still returned. Others became brand new property owners where homes went up. Hung Phan recently moved here with his family.

"When you wake up in the morning, it's like the pollution of the air is very very dirty and you can smell the gas especially in the morning and late at night. I think it's very dangerous for the kids, especially we have 3 children in the house, and i think the refinery could clean off the air," Phan said.

Neighbors on Jacob Drive refer to this street as "Cancer Alley" and they say they want federal legislators to get tougher on refineries.

"Join together and get the government and jump on the refinery and work harder," Phan said.

ABC News has been investigating that dozens of refineries, including three in the Greater New Orleans area are using the chemical hydrofluoric acid, which is used to make high-grade gasoline. It's considered toxic but the industry has resisted calls to stop using it.

"There's a reason that the refineries here are operating on the cheap, and that's because they can get away with it in our state," said Anne Rofle with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

These neighbors hope refineries are held more accountable and become more transparent to their surrounding communities.

Along with the refinery in Meraux, ABC's investigation also found potentially dangerous toxins in Chalmette, Belle chasse, Garyville, Port Allen. We called Murphy Oil and have not heard back from them.

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