Alert 687: Yet another Markell disgrace … an almost-free-pass for Valero (Markell/Coons Refinery)

If you care: Call Markell and let him know how you feel about this: 302.577.3210, Jack.Markell@state.de.us

The News Journal reported today that the Markell administration settled all the numerous environmental enforcement actions pending against Valero (Delaware City Refinery, now the Markell/Coons refinery). for a token amount of less than two million dollars.

State releases report of $1.95M settlement with Valero

Agreement reached before sale of Del. City site

This agreement was executed on May 28th, obviously as part of the "incentives" offered by Markell for the reopening of the refinery, but was concealed from the public.

On June 22, 2010, Green Delaware said:

Note that the Markell/Coons Refinery and its twenty million pounds per year of air pollution is shut down, but planning to reopen.  Restart is tentatively scheduled for April 1, 2011.  An April Fools Day gift to us all from Jack Markell and "Unfit Chris" Coons.  But it gets worse.  Rumors are circulating that the new owners of the refinery may seek to operate without the scrubbers many people fought for.  But it gets worse, maybe.  From this presentation by the new owners:

"The State of Delaware has agreed to provide an allocation of $400M of tax free bonds (not guaranteed by the State) which would be used for the construction of a high pressure hydrotreater

�This unit will only be built if PBF succeeds in signing an agreement to process very "ugly" heavy crude oil"

"Ugly" of course, means dirty, cheap, and highly-polluting.  But good enough for Delaware, apparently.
The owners also say they are getting $43 million in "State and Federal Grants and Stimulus" to induce them to restart the refinery.
Who is focused on protecting the health and quality of life of Delawareans?

Many times comments posted on newspaper websites are filled with ignorance, but in this case the comments are worth as much or more than the story itself:

kentcountyde wrote:
$1.95M seems like a mere slap on the wrist for Valero. Wasn’t Bob Duncan of Dover fined $2M for infractions at a handful of gas stations? Valero got off easy.

DOVER � A Dover businessman will pay $2 million to settle alleged violations of state and federal regulations regarding underground storage tanks.

maggierok wrote:
Agreed–a fine of less than $2M is not a deterant for an oil company. It’s important for you to let the DNREC know that you feel that they are not doing enough. Their contact info is on their website. http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Pages/Contact.aspx
8/10/2010 7:16:23 AM
Agreed–a fine of less than $2M is not a deterant for an oil company. It’s important for you to let the DNREC know that you feel that they are not doing enough. Their contact info is on their website. http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Pages/Contact.aspx maggierok
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HerbieDelivered wrote:
Hope will cover all the lawyers fees and paperwork incurred by the state to get this deal.
More jobs lost, refinery is a terrible thing to lose.

PS. DNREC is not just doing enough? if they are in charge of environmental impact, THEY are guilty as well.
Its sort of a drunk father that is never home beats up his child for bad report card.
Just sayin’
8/10/2010 10:27:34 AM
Hope will cover all the lawyers fees and paperwork incurred by the state to get this deal.  More jobs lost, refinery is a terrible thing to lose.  PS. DNREC is not just doing enough? if they are in charge of environmental impact, THEY are guilty as well.  Its sort of a drunk father that is never home beats up his child for bad report card.  Just sayin’ HerbieDelivered
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NucMedGuy wrote:

Looks like another good old boy back-room deal with our politicians…

Too much overlooked and now cut a deal to get out of town.

I for one am glad they are gone. How long will we have to pay since Valero is "off the hook" now that they are gone?

Will our children’s children still be paying for this one?

"Among the violations: years of failure… repeated failure to control dust releases… Wastewater plant problems and refinerywide releases of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants… and other chronic problems… …thousands of tons of petroleum coke left over from plant operations each day… …built at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars over a one-year period, but never operated reliably for long periods. Pollutants have in some areas reached the Potomac Aquifer, a resource once believed to be shielded from pollution. …contamination problems have been around for decades."

SOMETHING REALLY STINKS IN DE CITY – NOT THE PEOPLE (VICTIMS)

8/10/2010 12:54:25 PM
Looks like another good old boy back-room deal with our politicians…  Too much overlooked and now cut a deal to get out of town.  I for one am glad they are gone. How long will we have to pay since Valero is "off the hook" now that they are gone?  Will our children’s children still be paying for this one?<br /><br />"Among the violations: years of failure… repeated failure to control dust releases… Wastewater plant problems and refinerywide releases of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants… and other chronic problems… …thousands of tons of petroleum coke left over from plant operations each day… …built at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars over a one-year period, but never operated reliably for long periods. Pollutants have in some areas reached the Potomac Aquifer, a resource once believed to be shielded from pollution. …contamination problems have been around for decades."  SOMETHING REALLY STINKS IN DE CITY – NOT THE PEOPLE (VICTIMS)  NucMedGuy
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cb4uby wrote:
I don’t even know why DNREC even exist. wouldn’t the State be able to save Millions of Dollars if the Tax Payers didn’t have to fund this excuse for a state agency; maybe we could send some of those people over to the DMV. and they could stand in those long lines just to take up some more space, and the sence of an accomplisment would be so over whelming knowing you where making the problem worse, getting in someone eles way, and making more lives miserable. this is just another Bill the that the Delawareans will pay. while the Politition raise there ranking as the # 1 currupt State in the Union.
8/10/2010 1:01:56 PM
I don’t even know why DNREC even exist. wouldn’t the State be able to save Millions of Dollars if the Tax Payers didn’t have to fund this excuse for a state agency; maybe we could send some of those people over to the DMV. and they could stand in those long lines just to take up some more space, and the sence of an accomplisment would be so over whelming knowing you where making the problem worse, getting in someone eles way, and making more lives miserable. this is just another Bill the that the Delawareans will pay. while the Politition raise there ranking as the # 1 currupt State in the Union. cb4uby
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bearlib wrote:
Chump change considering. What a joke.
8/10/2010 1:33:41 PM
Chump change considering. What a joke. bearlib
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HerbieDelivered wrote:
DELAWARE – TAX FREE POLLUTING STATE*
*Or just a token fine. Bring your cancer at home, there is more in the toxic state.
8/10/2010 4:24:33 PM
DELAWARE – TAX FREE POLLUTING STATE**Or just a token fine. Bring your cancer at home, there is more in the toxic state. HerbieDelivered
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bede33 wrote:
This should be a slap in the face to every Delawarean!!! Every DNREC regulator involved, past and present, as well as, Markell and the like, should be subjected to constant ridicule for this despicable chain of current events involving Motiva/PremCor/Valero!!!!!!

Everyone living in a 10 mile radius of this plant should file a civil suit against the state…..

Please….ask me why???????
8/10/2010 9:41:40 PM
This should be a slap in the face to every Delawarean!!! Every DNREC regulator involved, past and present, as well as, Markell and the like, should be subjected to constant ridicule for this despicable chain of current events involving Motiva/PremCor/Valero!!!!!! Everyone living in a 10 mile radius of this plant should file a civil suit against the state…..Please….ask me why??????? bede33
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TheresaG wrote:
bede33, you echoed my sentiments exactly. A class action lawsuit should be filed on behalf of all residents within 10 miles of that site, seeking damages to lungs, etc. The state needs to cough up part of the fines settlement. Even if it works out to only $15 per person, it’s still the principle of the thing. Or maybe let the state keep its fine money and just get the damages from Valero. That would be the best course I think.
8/11/2010 1:06:14 AM

What can we say?

This morning a Green Delaware reader responded to our latest bad air message by emailing "always such bad news"  How true that sometimes seems to be.  What can we say?  It is what it is.  Points:

o       Delaware needs to require that all "settlement agreements," etc, be opened for public comment before final approval.  This is a point Green Delaware has harped on for years.

o       Delaware doesn’t have an "environmental community" any more.  What’s left of it–Green Delaware, we hope, excepting–will do, or not do, whatever Markell’s minions tell it to do.

o       Delaware needs independent media.  Where is it?  We haven’t gotten ONE call from a Delaware reporter about this latest scandal.  There’s just not much reporting left.  Coastalpoint.com is an exception.

o       Jack Markell’s administration is operating at an ethical level that makes Ruth Ann Minner’s look like a model of good government.  The evasions, concealments, giveaways to special interests, back door deals, attacks on working-class and middle-class people, general scumbaggery …  have risen to a new level.  I once called Ruth Ann Minner "Delaware’s Bush."  If that was so, what is Markell?  "Delaware’s Reagan?"

If you care: Call Markell and let him know how you feel about this: 302.577.3210, Jack.Markell@state.de.us

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