Why did you accept Crosstex’s worst-case scenario plan sent to you Aug. 15, 2012 when they evaded the issue of their huge butane caverns at Bayou Corne blowing up like this big 1992 LPG explosion from a salt dome storage cavern in Wesley, Texas? The explosion then was an accident waiting to happen.
You know between ½ and 1½ million BARRELS of butane get stored in Crosstex’s cavern. Not 800-900 GALLONS. You should have rejected that letter when it landed on you desk!
Crosstex’s pumping large amounts of butane into a cavern in a seismically unstable and unpredictable area of Bayou Corne needs to be stopped.
DEQ has the power to stop this.
From this April 7, 2012 Texas newspaper article – Salt dome explosion: 20 years later -
Before the sun came up on April 7, 1992, an alarm sounded at Mid-America’s 24-hour monitoring station in Tulsa, Okla. A sensor warned a dispatcher that there was hazardous gas escaping from an underground storage cavern — a salt dome — about 475 miles away in rural Wesley, Texas, about 60 miles from Houston.
Three dispatchers in Tulsa monitored the company’s 10,000 miles of pipeline, along with its gas storage facilities. The one in Wesley was unattended 16 hours each day and was operated by Seminole Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Mid-America Pipeline.
[ UNATTENDED – perhaps like the Crosstex caverns that they claim have 24/7 observation. DEQ, do you ever check up on them? ]
A minute after the first alarm came at 6:09 that Tuesday morning, one of the dispatchers called a 28-year-old Seminole worker who lived in Brenham and asked him to go to the facility to investigate the source of the alarm. Both the dispatcher and the worker — neither of whom had ever practiced responding to a disaster in a mock situation — assumed if the cavern overfilled with gas that a safety system would shut it down automatically and seal the cavern, preventing vapors from escaping into the air.
[ NO PRACTICE FOR EMERGENCIES – DEQ, when we know workers are not allowed to wear mandatory gas masks or use other safety equipment do you really think they ever practice how to handle a storage facility failure when they can’t even type out a worst case scenario for it on paper? ]
[ WORKERS ASSUMED AUTO SHUT-OFF WOULD KICK IN – and their response was not vital. DEQ, do you know if Crosstex employees and subcontractors know what to do in an emergency or that automatic systems can fail? ]
Not in a rush, the worker took a shower, dressed, stopped at a convenience store for a Diet Coke and arrived at the cavern about 20 minutes later. He immediately noticed a large cloud of what looked like fog engulfing the facility. He tried to turn off the engine of his diesel truck, but the motor kept running on the airborne gas vapor.
[ SLOW RESPONSE and TRUCK ENGINE STAYED ON – DEQ, do workers have training in rapid response? Do workers know escaped gasses will keep their cars and trucks running and cannot be switched off? ]
He realized he couldn’t make it to the facility’s manual shut-off valve, so retreated to a house of a nearby resident. He called back to dispatch and mentioned there was gas in the field (but not beyond), then called his supervisor, who ordered the worker to evacuate the area and get to safety, staying far from the vapor cloud.
[ INACCURATE ASSESSMENT OF EMERGENCY BY UNTRAINED WORKER – DEQ, do workers get instruction on the behavior of vapor clouds and other butane and LPG emergencies? ]
The residents who lent their phone told him that a school bus was expected down County Road 19, so he ignored his boss’s instruction and headed into the vapor cloud, attempting to stop the bus and get to the main facility to shut off the gas. When mixed with oxygen, the worker knew that natural gas liquid vapors are extremely flammable and capable of explosive ignition.
[ FLAMMABLE VAPORS – DEQ, you let Crosstex tell you in their letter of Aug. 15, 2012 that the butane would remain in a liquid sate no matter what when you know this is not true. DEQ, you know that when air comes into contact with butane it becomes a flammable hazard with high potential for explosion. ]
DEQ, you know this.
DEQ, you accepted that incomplete and evasive plan for worst case scenario from Crosstex knowing it isn’t worth the paper it is written on.
DEQ, when the inevitable happens, YOU will bear equal responsibility for what happens at Bayou Corne!