Hurricane Isaac aftermath— the struggle with StolthavenOct 7th, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: top story
It has now been more than a year since Hurricane Isaac struck Plaquemines Parish and residents, mainly those on the Eastbank, are still fighting to regain a sense of normalcy. In the wake of the hurricane, not only did residents have to deal with the immense amount of water damage, but a chemical spill as well.
“We keep trying to come up,” said Braithwaite resident Urban Treuil. “But things just keep getting worse. Life goes on though, I guess.”
After the storm had passed, it was discovered that the Stolthaven facility, a petroleum and chemical storage facility on the Eastbank, had started leaking chemicals into the surrounding areas.
Following the spill, Stolthaven representatives reported to the State’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that nearly 200,000 gallons of chemicals were released from the plant—several of which were carcinogens and toxicants.
“It’s just one thing after another over here,” said one Braithwaite resident. “Not only do we have to worry about storms and flooding, but now we have to deal with chemical spills too. No one was expecting Isaac to do the amount of damage that it did, but Stolthaven should have been better prepared. They really need to step up their game to ensure that the surrounding community will be safe incase something like this ever happens again. We need to know that we’re not rebuilding for nothing—we don’t want to keep getting hit with obstacles.”
Currently, there are several class action lawsuits filed against Stolthaven and hopefully the people the Eastbank will be receiving some kind of compensation for this disaster.
“It’s been over a year now since we filed suit, but now we can finally get to the substantive part of this case,” said Attorney Dominick Impastato after describing how the case has been involved in a jurisdictional battle.
“Stolthaven originally wanted this to go to federal court, but we got it dropped down to state court,” said Impastato. “We want this to be heard in a Plaquemines Parish court, by Plaquemines Parish judges.”
Impastato believes that the residents have a very good chance at gaining compensation, stating that Stolthaven was completely at fault for this.
“I’ve walked through the facility several times after the incident, and saw quite a number of tanks that had floated off of their foundations because they weren’t properly secured,” said Impastato.
Residents expressed that winning this suit wouldn’t just be a legal victory, but a big step in the direction of recovery—it would be a major success for them to hang their hats on.
Stolthaven could not be reached for comments at the time of publication.