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Hurricane Ida Underscores Importance of Louisiana and Being Prepared

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Scott Jensen
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On the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana found itself in the path of another equally powerful storm. Hurricane Ida crashed its way into the record books as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the state.

The storm lashed the coast of Louisiana, and well inland, with fierce winds, a strong storm surge and driving rains. Ida destroyed buildings, knocked out power, displaced thousands of people and disrupted production for many chemical and refining facilities. Thankfully many of the lessons learned from Katrina were used to shore up Louisiana’s defenses, including a new system of levees, floodwalls and floodgates.

It is reasonable to wonder why so many chemical facilities (and people) are located in such a hurricane prone area. While chemical production can be found in nearly every state, much of the basic chemical production is concentrated in the Gulf in order to be as close as possible to critical feedstock materials such as natural gas. Furthermore, Louisiana’s ports and the Mississippi river provide strong commercial arteries that connect the region with the rest of country – and the world.

That is why Louisiana is the 2nd largest chemical manufacturing state in the country supplying America with chemistries vital to everyday life, including food production, building materials and battling COVID-19.

Louisiana is also home to more than 25,000 men and women who work in the chemical industry and who are dedicated to the safety of their coworkers, their families and neighbors, especially during a storm.

They go to great lengths to prepare for extreme weather, and thanks to their hard work chemical facilities were able to weather the impacts of Ida.

Under Responsible Care®, ACC’s health, safety, environment, and security program, our members have long-established emergency plans. These plans are activated in close coordination with local, state, and national authorities, other businesses, and transportation systems, along the path of the storms.

These emergency place great emphasis on:

  • Protecting employees and surrounding communities.
  • Preventing the release of chemicals.
  • Restoring operations and production essential to producing vital everyday items.

With several more months left in what NOAA has predicted to be an “above-normal” Atlantic hurricane season, the chemical industry knows they need to be prepared for the next major storm, which could be just around the corner.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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