The United Steelworkers Thursday reached a possible four-year pact with Shell Oil in a seven-state strike that spread to 12 refineries and three other plants. Three weeks ago, most of the USW's more than 700 combined members joined the walkout.
ExxonMobil must pay $2.329 million in a settlement, announced by Louisiana's Dept. of Environmental Quality last August and finalized early this month, to address violations from 2008 into 2013 at its greater Baton Rouge facilities.
This 90-percent Latino community is literally surrounded by petrochemical facilities that spew at least eight carcinogens into the air. The levels of one of them, benzene, are so high that living in Manchester is tantamount to being stuck in traffic 24/7.
Louisiana has attracted some cleaner industries recently, but after natural gas prices dropped to ten-year lows this spring, chemical manufacturers are rushing to build and expand. Residents need those jobs but fear explosions and toxic emissions.