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Lessons From Harvey: Mapping Out Toxic Sites In Hurricane Irma’s Path

For Immediate Release

Below is a map of potential toxic sites and a statement by Kara Cook-Schultz, Toxics Program Director for U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund and Florida PIRG Education Fund: 

“The National Hurricane Center is predicting that Hurricane Irma will hit the coast of Florida this weekend. While we hope for the best outcome in this situation, Florida must prepare for the worst.

With Hurricane Harvey, our country learned anew that you simply cannot be too cautious when it comes to safeguarding chemical facilities. Superfund sites were overrun with water, petrochemical wells swept toxic contaminations out into communities, and explosions and fires erupted at the Arkema plant in Crosby. 

With Irma bearing down, we hope that all industrial and toxic waste sites are properly battened down and ready for storms and flooding. It’s a big job because the unfortunate truth is that Florida is dotted with industrial sites that can poison our water and damage our health. 

It’s impossible to speculate on sites that are most at risk, in part because many of these sites are not currently required to disclose their safety and emergency preparedness plans to the public. But we do want first responders and others to know where the risks may lie. 

This map lists several types of toxic sites across the state, including Superfund sites and other facilities that make or store chemicals and are required to submit Risk Management Plans to the federal EPA. Additionally, the map lists phosphorous mines, which are not on the coasts but do present a unique risk do to the openness of the mining operation.” 

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U.S. PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.

Florida PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.

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