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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL)

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Legislators: Stop Using Dangerous Refinery Chemical

Monday, May 7, 2018

Two Minnesota legislators asked state officials today to immediately request that Marathon Oil end the use of dangerous hydrogen flouride at its St. Paul Park refinery.

In a letter to Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman and PCA Commissioner John Linc Stine, State Representative Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) and Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) also stated, "we believe it is essential and timely for the Department of Public Safety and local emergency responders to conduct a review of procedures that are now in place to address an oil refinery worst case scenario involving hydrogen fluoride in St. Paul Park. Given the near disaster at the Superior refinery, an update of procedures and more active engagement with the public may be warranted.”

The legislators also shared EPA data showing that the St. Paul Park refinery poses human health risks that are three times the industry median for petroleum refineries.

Rep. Hornstein and Sen. Dibble also requested documents pertaining to emergency response and disaster planning and an inventory of all toxic chemicals used at the plant. “These documents are available to the public through the federal and state Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act,” said Rep. Hornstein. “They should be widely disseminated in the impacted communities, and media. The response plans may need revision given the near disaster involving hydrogen fluoride at the Superior refinery."

Rep. Hornstein and Sen. Dibble wrote and passed into law an update to the state's crude oil transportation safety laws in 2014 and have been active in promoting railroad and pipeline safety as Minnesota is a major thoroughfare for oil originating in North Dakota and Canada. Rep. Hornstein also worked with community groups in the 1980s to promote passage of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know legislation at the state and federal levels.

The letter to Commissioners Mona Dohman and John Linc Stine is attached.