Duluth Mayor + Council Swipe At Husky Refinery: Political Or Safety Concern?
Political move or a public safety concern? Probably a little of both.
In a one-two punch, the Duluth City Council has voted to adopt a resolution that asks the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether or not refineries can use hydrogen fluoride - a move that follows the letter drafted last week by Duluth Mayor Emily Larson - calling Husky Refinery's continued use of the chemical as "unacceptable". The vote came at the Tuesday, July 15 meeting - 8 to 0, with councilor Jay Fosle absent. The letter and the resolution also have the support of Superior Mayor Jim Paine.
Husky Refinery continues to rebuild and regroup - following the April 2018 explosion and fire. Company officials are looking at a target date of 2020 or 2021 for restarting operations at the Superior location. As part of the rebuilding process, a decision to continue using hydrogen fluoride in operations. When the refinery exploded, one of the main concerns was that the fire would reach hydrogen fluoride stored on site; even brief exposure to the chemical can result in harm.
The adopted resolution came with an amendment interjected by At Large Councilor Arik Forsman - documenting the large number of jobs and dollars that the company adds to the local economy. According to news sources, the amendment was "welcomed" by Mayor Larson.