09.26.18

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Requests Public Forum on Husky Superior Refinery Incident

In a letter, Midwestern Lawmakers Request Meeting for Communities Affected by Husky Superior Refinery Explosions, Presses Federal Agency to Gather Public Input in Investigatory Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, joined her Congressional colleagues in requesting a public meeting for communities affected by the Husky Superior Refinery explosions earlier this year.  The letter was also signed by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).

On April 26, 2018, the Husky Superior Refinery was severely damaged in a catastrophic explosion that has raised serious questions about the safety of U.S. refineries using hydrogen fluoride (HF), and the need for safety improvements in these facilities, particularly during the turnaround process. The accident involved numerous explosions and fires, leading to a 10-mile evacuation zone to the South and 3-mile evacuation zones to the East and West.

“Hydrogen fluoride poses a great public risk to the Twin Ports metropolitan area,” wrote the lawmakers in the letter. “Workers, residents, and local officials deserve the opportunity to participate in an interim public meeting to provide input into the Husky Refinery investigatory process.”

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is currently investigating this incident, and Senator Baldwin and her colleagues are requesting a full public meeting to allow input from refinery communities about the scope of the Board’s investigation. This meeting would also provide an opportunity for public dialogue explaining the Board’s stated grave concerns about the use of HF in urban oil refineries.

“We urge you to engage the local community to share the Board’s interim findings regarding the Husky Superior Refinery incident and to discuss any systemic concerns that the Board has with the use of HF in the petrochemical industry.”

Senator Baldwin visited Superior the day after the refinery explosion to offer her support to the community, talk to first responders, tour the evacuation zone, and meet with local workers and Superior Mayor Jim Paine.

An online version of the letter is available here.