The Oil Refinery Fire In Superior is Just Another In a Long String of Incidents by Husky Energy

Duluth Now
Apr 27, 2018 · 4 min read
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The Superior Husky Energy refinery burns on April 26th, 2018

Superior, Wisconsin and the Twin Ports region as a whole has been very gracious in welcoming fossil fuel companies like Husky Energy, along with others like Enbridge, into our community. But the citizens of the Twin Ports assume that when these companies move into the community, they will be good neighbors and good stewards of the community. However, what many don’t know, is that companies like Husky are far from safe, and often leave a wake of destruction, harm, and pollution in their path. Husky Energy has a troubled history of oil spills, injury, fire, and property destruction.

With Husky’s most recent incident in Superior, Wisconsin, where many were injured, an entire community was forced to evacuate for hours, and citizens were left wondering what the lasting effects of the pollution released into their air and breathed into their lungs would be, Superior and Duluth citizens should question whether or not Husky Energy and other fossil fuel companies have a place in our community.

In addition to the many directly dangerous incidents caused by Husky Energy, citizens should also consider the lasting effects these businesses have on their health and well-being. Consider that children living near oil refineries are more likely to die of leukemia and other cancers. Also, consider that the EPA has found that these types of refineries consistently release more emissions than they claim. Finally, note that those that live near oil refineries are more likely to suffer from cancers and respiratory illnesses as a whole. Is all of this worth the promise of jobs that these sorts of industries bring to our community? (Never mind that automation is cutting most of those jobs anyway.) After a fire and explosion have shaken an entire city, are we willing to reassess the place of Husky Energy and other fossil fuel companies in Superior, Wisconsin?

Below, I’ve highlighted a brief timeline of the times in recent memory that Husky Energy have failed the members of the communities they’ve entered into. Time to add Superior, Wisconsin to the list.

March, 2011 — Fracking Fire Leads to a Dozen Injuries

In Alberta, Canada, Husky Energy was conducting a natural gas fracking operation when a flash-fire broke out, injuring twelve employees and hospitalizing two.

October, 2014 — Fire at a Husky Terminal Injures One

At an energy terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, a fire caused one employee to be hospitalized for injuries, and residents were forced to evacuate due to contaminants in the air.

January, 2015 — Husky Lima Refinery Explosion Destroys Homeowner Property

In Lima, Ohio, Husky Energy’s oil refinery suffered an explosion, causing a fire and creating a blast that shattered windows at houses nearby. There were no reported injuries.

September, 2015 — Same Refinery Suffers String of Incidents

Despite the January explosion damaging equipment at their Lima refinery, Husky continued operations and saw another Fire break out just eight months later. After the fire was put out, the refinery continued operations and suffered a power outage the very next day. The refinery’s operations continued to limp along.

Unknown Date, 2015 — Negligence from Husky Employees Leads to Death and Injury of 16 Race Horses

A professional horse racer has recently leveled a 3.7 million dollar lawsuit against Husky Energy, after their employees, who were doing seismic work on the racer’s property, left sharp stakes on and in the ground, injuring or killing 16 horses.

March, 2017 — Husky Decides Not To Avoid an Iceberg, Risking Oil Spill

Husky’s “SeaRose” Oil Platform was at risk of being hit by an iceberg, and rather than stop production of oil onboard the platform and move away from the iceberg (as they were legally required to do), Husky officials chose to keep working and “brace for impact” — Canadian officials later found that this decision was made strictly for economic reasons and Husky gave no regard to the risks involved in having an oil storage vessel be hit by an iceberg.

May, June, 2017 — Employees of a Husky Energy Contractor Repeatedly Harass a Muslim Employee

An investigation of a Husky Energy contractor was launched after employees repeatedly harassed their coworkers for wearing hijabs at work. When Muslim employees complained of discrimination, they were fired.

July, 2017 — Oil Spill From Husky Oil Pipeline Fills Saskatchewan River

An oil pipeline operated by Husky Energy dumped nearly 60,000 gallons of oil into the Saskatchewan river over a period of more than seven hours before it was finally shut down. Despite alarms sounding, Husky Energy did not alert officials of the spill for over an hour. Charges were leveled against Husky Energy for this spill and their negligence during it. Cleanup continues to this day.

January, 2018 — Fireball at Lima Oil Refinery Terrifies Neighbors

A large fireball erupted from Husky Energy’s Lima oil refinery, terrifying shell-shocked neighbors of the refinery who were still wary after the refinery’s history of dangerous fires. Husky argued that there was no explosion, simply a larger than usual flare. However, the refinery declined to admit if this was related to previous incidents at the refinery.

April, 2018 — Fire at Superior Refinery Injures Employees, Forces an Evacuation of an Entire City, Lasting Effects Unknown

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