The oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin is owned and run by Murphy Oil Corporation. Murphy is perhaps best known for their gas station facilities that are located on Wal Mart shopping center sites. It was originally opened by the Lake Superior Refinery Company in 1951 and later sold to Murphy Oil in 1958.
In 2007, Murphy Oil announced plans for a large expansion of their refinery in Superior. The company's Planning Director, Jeff Vito announced that this would entail an investment of up to $6.2 billion, and that it would create nearly 400 new jobs for local citizens. Murphy executives are hoping to work out a merger with another oil processing company, so that the two companies could split the costs that will be involved. The future of this deal remains uncertain, and any expansion to the facility would take several years to finish. At its current operational capacity, the plant is able to produce 33,000 barrels of crude oil on a daily basis.
During the early running years of the plant, they utilized several products within the facility that were made out of asbestos. This was done by refineries and other industrial plants for many years before studies were done that uncovered the fact that asbestos is a toxic substance. Any exposure to asbestos by humans can lead to respiratory disorders and a cancerous disease called mesothelioma. These health hazards can be fatal, so anyone who has been exposed must notify their doctor about the situation. The plant had to have all products that contained the toxin removed and disposed of to make sure the facility was safe for the workers.
Plant operators have worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency through the years to ensure they are up to proper healthcare codes and not in violation of any pollution laws. In 2005 they received a permit that stipulated the exact amount of pollution they were able to produce on an annual basis. The document stated what was and was not acceptable for the company for waste water, contaminants and emissions. The permit is valid until 2009.
Although many support the proposed expansion, there are those who are opposed to the idea. Several local residents believe that the levels of pollution that are released by the current facility already exceed what should be thought of as an acceptable standard, and the concern is that an expansion to the plant would bring about even more pollution into the area. These people have put forth a call to make attempts to stop the expansion project, claiming it is necessary to do so to protect the environment and the health of citizens and the children of the local community.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.