Saturday, September 10, 2005

Bush May Cause Disasters at Oil Refineries

So here we go again with George Bush. In his ever increasing effort to try to bolster his public appoval ratings he is making a decision that could cause a disaster at oil refineries in the United States. He has ordered oil refineries to postpone all scheduled maintenance in order to maximize the refinement of gasoline and heating oil. Bush has ordered this in the wake of rising prices due to the destruction of some refineries from hurricane Katrina. He probably has also done this because consumers are apt to blame the president whenever fuel prices increase.

Oil refinery fires and explosions are not that uncommon in this country and plenty of workers have died from these type of incidents. When these type of disasters occur, the usual result is that gasoline prices increase in the areas of the country that the refinery served.

So George Bush is crossing his fingers and hoping that no refinery explosions or fires occur due to his order of postponement of scheduled maintenance. But maybe not. Maybe he is willing to risk refinery workers lives for cheaper gasoline and heating oil. Maybe he figures no one will remember his order if a disaster should occur. Maybe he figures that if an incident happens, no one will be able to pinpoint the reason as a missed performance of maintenance.

Myself, I wonder how much prices will really be reduced from the order given by Bush. I suspect it wouldn't be much more than a few pennies at the pump. And then I wonder will that miniscule savings really be worth any lives lost if a refinery has a disaster.

In the same way that Bush cut back the budget of the Army Corp of Engineers plans to improve the New Orleans levee system, this postponement of maintenance at oil refineries is the shortsighted way he does politics. Bush gambles with future lives with his decisions.

Here are just a few refinery incidents;

15 people dead, 70 injured, March 2005 Texas City, Texas

In March 2000, an explosion and fire tore through a Phillips Petroleum Company chemical plant in nearby Pasadena, Texas, killing one and injuring 71. In July 1990 an explosion at Arco Chemical Plant in Channelview killed 17. In October 1989, an explosion at a Phillips Petroleum plastics plant, also in Pasadena, killed 23.

May 14, 1999, Coastal Corp refinery explosion, 10 injured.

July 28, 1999, Mobile Oil Company refinery explosion, Torrance, California

August 9, 1999, Citgo Refinery, Corpus Christi, Texas, 1 worker killed,

August 11, 1999, Refinery explosion and fire, Dallas, Texas.



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