Environmental Impacts From Hurricane Isaac

Reposted from Louisiana Environmental Action Network:

Despite the fact that we live in an area that gets hit by hurricanes every few years, and has for untold millennia, Louisiana Industry is consistently unable or unwilling to take the steps necessary to prevent environmental impacts due to hurricanes. When a hurricane hits it consistently leaves in its wake a slew of oil spills, lost hazardous material containers and chemical plants and refineries releasing pollution due to power outages, start-up and shut-down, and flooding. Isaac was no exception.

 Stolthaven Chemical Facility

Rail cars and storage tanks at Stolthaven Chemical Facility moved out of place by hurricane Isaac. 9-10-12

Residents in the area around Stolthaven Chemical Plant in Braithwaite, LA, just 9.5 miles south-east of the New Orleans French Quarter, remain under evacuation orders due to concerns of the possibility of a release of hazardous material from the facility. Stolthaven, owned by a London-based Stolt-Nielsen Limited, is a petroleum and chemical storage and transfer terminal. Hurricane Isaac caused significant damage to the facility including damage to a large number of rail cars containing hazardous materials there. The storm knocked chemical storeage tanks off of their foundations and caused the facility to lose power for several days. Stolthaven stores a variety of chemicals, some of which, including styrene and methyl acrylate, require cooling and stirring to keep them stable.

Railcars at Stolthaven Chemical Facility, many containing hazardous materials, are being put back onto the tracks after being pushed around by Hurricane Isaac. 9-10-12

More info:

Kinder Morgan International Marine Terminal and TECO Bulk Terminal

Orange, yellow and black water runs off of the coal piled up at TECO Bulk Terminal into a roadside drainage ditch. 9-10-12


These two extensive coal terminals reside on the Mississippi River near Myrtle Grove, LA and receive coal mined by companies like Massey Energy and Peabody Energy from the heart of the country which is then loaded onto ships and exported to buyers around the world. Rain and flood waters contaminated by the coal piles was documented making its way offsite into the surrounding environment.

 More photos:



ConocoPhillips Alliance Refinery

Some standing water can still be seen around the ConocoPhillips Alliance Refinery 9-10-12.

ConocoPhillips Alliance Refinery was extensively flooded by Isaac and oily sheen was observed on the remaining flood waters and it appears likely that some of the oily material made its way offsite during the flooding.

BP Oil

BP oil found on Fourchon Beach by LEAN samplers after Hurricane Isaac on September 2, 2012

Hurricane Isaac also brought oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster onshore 2 years and 4 months after the rig sank. An environmental scientist who has been sampling for the BP oil since the beginning of the disaster remaked, in reference to the condition of the oil currently being found, that “it’s just like August of 2010.” 12 miles of beach were closed between Grand Isle and Port Fourchon because of the large amounts of oil. Gooey tar balls have also been found as far east as Alabama. The oil has been fingerprinted as a match for BP’s crude. LEAN members were able to take samples of oil washed up on Fourchon Beach just before it was closed.

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Oil Spills

An oil slick (light blue), likely from an old well or a damaged pipeline, moves with the winds and currents. 9-10-12

The oil and gas infrastructure along Louisiana’s coast remains particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. Like previous storms, Isaac left behind lots of spilled oil.

Taylor Wells

The slick from the Taylor Wells site stretches off to the horizon. 9-10-12

Oil continues to be discharged from the site of Taylor Energy’s wells. The discharge began in 2004 when an undersea landslide caused by Hurricane Ivan damaged an offshore platform and 28 associated wells 11 miles off of the Mississippi River Delta off the coast of Louisiana. The slick on September 10, 2012 was reported to the National Response Center (NRC) as being 16 miles long.

See more incredible photos from the aerial patrol on September 10, 2012 here:

Special thanks to SouthWings for the flight and Jeffrey Dubinsky for the amazing photos!