The city of McPherson, Kansas was established in 1872. Its founders attempted to have the city named as the official state capital, but the request was turned down. By 1943 a company called the National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA) had moved in to McPherson and opened up an oil refinery with the purpose of providing fuels for farmers throughout middle America. Today NCRA operates at 85,000 barrels of crude oil per day, which is distributed throughout the North Central states.
The NCRA dealt with the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003 when they were found guilty of violating the Clean Air Act. They had been accused of releasing 3,000 tons of pollution over the legal limit on an annual basis. NCRA officials voluntarily released this information to the EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). The result was a $350,000 fine that went directly to environmental agencies, and an order to spend $1.5 million in upgrades to their emission and pollution controls. When the project is finished, the refinery would no longer be considered a gross polluter and would meet or exceed all standards created by the Clean Air Act.
By 2004, another project was put into action at the McPherson refinery. A development plan was activated to increase the size of the refinery as well as it production capability. This was to be a $320 million venture that would renovate and grow the facility. Upon completion, an additional 800 employees were hired to run the refinery, which would also have a positive impact on the local community and economy.
All employees hired after this expansion were lucky to not have to deal with an issue that had a serious negative effect on former and long term staff members. The issue in question was a health hazard related to the presence of asbestos at the plant. This naturally occurring material was used in many industrial items around the refinery, such as rubber products and insulation. When the asbestos inside these products was recognized as being dangerous, the plant had to temporarily halt operations and remove every bit of the hazardous material. Workers who were exposed to the asbestos may develop respiratory diseases and a type of cancer called mesothelioma which can be fatal. If you, or anyone you know worked at the plant and were subjected to the possibility of asbestos exposure, notify your doctor immediately to discuss the health risks you may be facing.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.