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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #299 - Lubrizol: Fear on the city (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Tue, 12 Nov 2019 08:55:28 +0200

The Lubrizol factory fire in Rouen shows poor management by the State, both upstream and after the disaster. But industrial accidents of this magnitude are not inevitable. ---- Following the Lubrizol fire, which manufactures fuel additives, a factory manager told the media that the company wants to be " a good neighbor ". Well, it's missed. It is not good to live around Lubrizol and even at least 200 km around. On the night of September 26, around 2 am, a fire ravage this factory classified " Seveso high threshold ". An oil spill overwhelms the Rouen area and will be felt in Belgium. Whatever the origin of this fire, several observations and questions are required. Already in 2013, a leak of mercaptan gas, a poisonous and smelly gas, had been felt as far as England and the Paris region, giving rise to a fine of € 4000.! In a metropolis that has 25 Seveso classified sites and a department that hosts 75, concern for the future is more than legitimate.

State management deficient
A law of 2018, in the name of the administrative simplification, allowed Lubrizol to extend its storage without real control. Relief was obviously unprepared (insufficient numbers, nonexistent or ineffective personal protections). Most importantly, the population was left on their own: only two sirens were triggered for a population of about 500,000 inhabitants, and six hours after the start of the disaster ; some mayors have not even been notified by the prefecture, it has refused to evacuate Travelers installed near the factory ... And a single speech loop: " there is no acute toxicity ". The strong mobilization of the population allowed to loosen the vice of the unspoken. Thus, it is no longer 4,500 tons of products that burned but nearly 10,000 tons, of which about half stored in an adjacent company, Normandie Logistique, non-classified Seveso ! Lubrizol's list of products has finally been made public, but so far not those of its neighbor.

Storm and pollution in Rouen (Frédéric Bisson)
Dioxin analyzes have found rates four times higher than the norm, with a massive presence of carcinogenic products (benzene, asbestos, dioxins, etc.). As for the environment, that soils and rivers are polluted is evident, as evidenced by the prohibition to market or consume products from agriculture or its own garden in 112 municipalities.

But if we take a step back, the low-cost security implemented by Lubrizol, and approved by the state, comes from a logic of ever more exponential profits inherent in the capitalist system. However, it would be entirely possible to put in place an economy that protects us from such risks. For example, by reducing the consumption of products derived from petrochemicals, in particular by the decline of thermal vehicles and the development of alternative transport (cycling, public transport, rail freight), or by reducing the production and consumption of phytosanitary products , by encouraging organic farming, or by planning the closure of nuclear power plants and by developing renewable energies.

UCL Rouen

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