Home > Uncategorized > Another Major Oil Spill at Paulsboro Refinery

Another Major Oil Spill at Paulsboro Refinery

refinery in the back yard of High School

refinery in the back yard of High School

Do Sweeney and Burzichelli Still Hate DEP Regulations and Red Tape?

Late yesterday, DEP issued a press release that just hit my in basket announcing a major oil spill at the Paulsboro refinery.

As is typical, DEP is downplaying risks – the press release reads as if it were written by the oil company. There is no mention of the school just feet away.

12/P16) TRENTON — A large spill from an oil tank at the Paulsboro Refining Company facility in Gloucester County is not expected to impact the Delaware River or local water supplies. Air monitoring also indicates there should be no health effects from odors caused by the spill.

… As of 4:30 p.m., 157,000 barrels — or about 6.6 million gallons — of oil had leaked into the emergency containment area. The tank holds 286,000 barrels of oil, or about 12 million gallons. The emergency containment area, essentially a large berm surrounding the tank, is designed to hold 377,000 barrels in the event of an emergency.

We called the “Community Information Line” and all we got was a tape message by the Paulsboro Refining Company – almost like an advertisement! I wanted to find out if they’ve closed the school.

Has DEP now privatized community communication too? I doubt Paulsboro Refining Company will tell the public about my concerns.

The facility has a history of spills, a pattern of operating “upsets”, and existing air releases and air toxics problems we’ve written about, see:

I’ll check the press and see what the status is and if the school issues got covered.

With Sunoco closing and leaving pollution behind and Paulsboro polluting, I wonder if Senator Sweeney and Assemblyman Burzichelli still  hate all that Red Tape and are still supporting rollbacks to environmental regulations

And of course, the fold by Legislators on spill liability is involved as well.

  • Oil Spill liability cave – S2108

A bill drafted in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil blowout, that would appear to eliminate the cap on liability for oil and chemical spills, is up as well.

While some may see this as a positive, don’t fall for the Trenton Kabuki.

Make no mistake, it illustrates a total collapse by legislators – on a bipartisan basis – to the powerful lobbyists of the chemical and oil industries.

The introduced version of the bill was serious but the final version is now a corrupt and cynical joke.

Legislators gutted the bill by exempting inland oil and chemical facilities and narrowing the bill to spills ONLY from a drilling platform!. There are no and never will be any drilling platforms in NJ or off the NJ coast)

So if an oil tanker spills in the Delaware River – or a chemical plant blows up and kills nearby residents, they will have their liability capped at only $50 million.

For the ugly details on all that, see: Gulf Blowout Prompts NJ lawmakers to Seek Increase In Polluter Liability To $1 Billion


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  1. Kevin
    February 27th, 2012 at 12:16 | #1

    You are a total dunce and know nothing about refining or it’s impacts. It is liberal ignorant knuckeheads like you that make is seem so much worse than it is.
    We pollute the air more every year by warming up our vehicles which is a necessity. I work in all of the refining facilities and can tell you they are much safer and cleaner that ignorant folks like you make them out to be because you just flat out do not know. E-mail me with any questions and I’ll get you answers, and no, I do not work for the refinery. There are other worse things we should be concentrating than one spill at the Paulsboro Refinery. Get a clue. Your writing shows your blatent ignorance. I am not minimizing the spill, but again, you do not realize what the impact even is, and how well these facilities maintain their spills in emergency. What would you like to do? Get rid of refining all together? What would you replace it with? Would India or China even clean up this spill and do they have an EPA? Get a life!!

  2. Kevin
    February 27th, 2012 at 12:21 | #2

    Maybe we can all be fish ladder builders. Our economy will rock then !! Sure there is risk in any industrial endeavor we partake in, however, without industry and those risk, this country would not have gotten where it is today and believe me, the rules ARE allot more strict now. When it is all said and done, the refinery will be the only one to suffer. They will clean up their spill propertly, and you will not come back with a right up giving them credit for that either !! Your just trying to be heard in the spotlight like so many other Attention starved ignorant Americans !!

  3. March 1st, 2012 at 17:28 | #3


    Kevin – Actually, I only posted your comment because it so perfectly captures the mindset of folks who “think” along your lines.

    But, in future, please don’t come and shit on my site.

    Just a warning – I do not tolerate ad hominem attacks and expect comments to be supported by facts and/or reasoned arguments.

    Comply, or next time, I do not post your comments.

  4. Maria
    March 4th, 2012 at 18:56 | #4

    Dear Bill and Kevin, I am just happy to see atleast 2 other people interested in this spill other than me. The news has not reported anything more than the initial statements concening this not to be a health hazard….but I would feel much better if someone could give me an explanation of that conclusion. What are the benzene, toulene,ethylebenze levels recorded in the past week? What are the safe limits… I have been reading the epa website and other sites,but its hard to understand what values to reference (and what units) what level acutely causes cancer, how bout over a few weeks? What levels cause birth defects…and what chemical is that that I am actually smelling…. and WHAT THE HECK LEVELS HAVE THEY ACTUALLY MEASURED? Will they tell us? Are they required to tell the public? I feel more worried because of the lack of attention… thanks.

  5. March 4th, 2012 at 19:25 | #5


    Maria – you ask good questions.

    Here’s something that may be helpful on Benzene:


    The news reporting is totally bankrupt and spinning the local officials and DEP line (which protects local industry and politicians, like Burzichelli and Sweeney).

    I understand that Gloucester County Health Dept. conducted air monitoring. That raw data is available to reporters and the public via OPRA (Open Public Record Act request). All you need to do is file OPRA request with the county (with DEP too).

    Cancer risk are tricky – although all standards are used on chronic exposures, because there is no threshold for cancer, a single exposure to a single molecule theoretically can cause it. Same thing with developmental effects – a developing fetus is especially vulnerable.

    There are no ambient standards for air toxics, but EPA does have risk based screening levels, see:




    And here are NJ DEP indoor air screening levels (based on 1 in a million cancer risk):


    I realize that the units vary – but if you spend time and ask experts, they can make conversions for you.

    The refinery and DEP are NOT required to tell the public – but reporters and the public should DEMAND answers!


  6. March 4th, 2012 at 19:28 | #6


    Maria – last point: I’m sure you are not alone. My site got 500 hits on this story. Organize with your friends and neighbors!

  7. Maria
    March 4th, 2012 at 20:17 | #7

    Thanks for the links. Any idea how long it takes to get a report through opra? Seems a little silly that you can’t get that info quickly enough to make you’re own decision about staying in town.

  8. March 4th, 2012 at 22:04 | #8


    OPRA responses must be supplied within 7 working days.

    If enough people demand the data, the press will have to report it or the County and DEP will have to provide it.

    Start making noise. File and OPRA. Write LTE’s. Call Sweeney and Burzichelli. Organize your neighbors. Demand answers. Hold press inferences. Stop traffic. You get the drift?

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