Letter: NuStar – Safety record in question

POSTED: 01/8/12 4:51 PM

Dear Editor,

Over the last twenty years, companies have been quick to communicate their safety mission statements. NuStar that plans to build an ugly and potentially dangerous oil terminal on Statia is no exception. But when the Dutch political delegation visits Statia, there are various questions that must be raised about the safety of such a development. They must reveal NuStar’s omission statements. And I shall help them.
For the last twenty years I have communicated the safety record of many Dutch companies. I have followed safety training programs to audit and train trainers. One lesson learned is that when it comes to safety, you record every incident and tell all quickly – with the aim that experience, knowledge and diligence are the means to improving safety.
So how can we judge NuStar’s commitment to safety?
According to their website: NuStar Energy L.P. is committed to achieving the highest standards of safety and environmental excellence throughout our organization. Curt Anastasio, President and CEO, fully supports health, safety and environmental excellence and has led the way providing “The safety of our employees, contract employees, customers, neighbors and the environment is a core business value and an important priority.
But good intentions when said in public are not always practised in private. Until something goes wrong, that is. And there is a lot wrong with the safety record of NuStar. The path from blueprint to newsprint can be very immediate.
One item of environmental news interest is the failure to prepare and maintain proper facility response plans to deal with spills and environmental accidents at some of the largest oil storage terminals in the United States. For this, NuStar Pipeline Operating Partnership LP agreed to pay a $450,000 civil penalty to the United States Government to settle allegations that it did not have such plans for eight of its oil storage terminal facilities in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

Blame game
The news does not get better for a company that considers creed more order valium canada important than deed. More recently, a fire broke out at the firm’s San Antonio refinery. A spokesman for the refinery blamed a contractor for the incident. This deflection or blame game does not echo the words of NuStar‘s President and CEO who claims to be concerned about the safety of contract employees.
How far can we trust this Fortune 500 company that claims an accident free record?
Well the record is looking rather dubious and creatively presented. Safety managers throughout the world rely on a different set of statistics. They look at Lost Time Incidents (LTI’s) not lost time accidents as per NuStar’s criteria. The reason for this is clear. They want to identify an accident waiting to happen. Given that the company has not publicised its current figures of LTI’s for its existing terminal facilities, what are we to believe?
But one thing is certain. The prospect of millions of barrels of crude oil stored cheek by jowel in the vicinity of school children, airport and town centre beggars belief. Two fire engines on the island are not capable of dealing with existing emergencies, let alone a new terminal.
Questions to be asked by the esteemed Dutch politicans are as follows:
Where is the working capital for NuStar to deal with a major disaster?
Where is the Disaster Plan?
Where is the Crisis Communication Plan?
Where is the Island Evacuation Plan?
Why are lost time incidents not reported?
Why have the people of Statia not been given the opportunity to decide their future and that of their children?
Which fire regulations have been followed to cope with a major disaster?
In the case of a disaster, what are the consequences to marine life,natural fauna and flora?
What are the consequences to Statia’s historical heritage given that NuStar has already desicrated significant monuments?
How can such a risky installation be situated in the proximity of a residential location?
It will be interesting to see if a response from NuStar and the Island government will be forthcoming.

James Russell

Did you like this? Share it:
Letter: NuStar – Safety record in question by

Comments are closed.