In Wake of Explosion and Fire, Duluth Mayor Calls for Change to Oil Refining Process

Emily Larson Photo: City of Duluth
Emily Larson

May 01, 2018 04:53 PM

In the wake of last week's explosion and fire at the Husky Energy refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, Duluth mayor Emily Larson is calling on the company to eliminate hyrdrogen flouride from their refining process.

In a statement, Larson praised the company's investment in the Twin Ports area and the jobs the refinery provides.


RELATED: Superior Mayor: Cause of Refinery Explosion, Fire Remains Under Investigation

But she said public safety must be the company's top priority.

"Currently, Husky operates a refinery within a population district of well over 130,000 people," read the statement in part.

"We welcome their investment in our economies and the good paying jobs this work provides. However, choosing the known risks of hydrogen flouride is not something that is in keeping with the premise of being a good corporate partner. It elevates the danger to our environment and our people."

RELATED: Superior Mayor: Refinery Fire Out, Evacuation Order Remains in Place Overnight

In a statement issued in response, the company said it will look at a number of ideas as it rebuilds.

"We will be looking at a number of options for the refinery configuration going forward," the statement read. "The HF unit and its safety systems will be a part of the thorough investigation underway at the refinery, in conjunction with regulators."

Duluth TV station WDIO reported that at a press conference Monday, refinery manager Kollin Schade also said the company may look at reconfiguring as it rebuilds, and finding ways to bring the refinery back better and safer for the public. 

That includes potentially replacing the hydrogen fluoride that was reportedly at risk while the asphalt tanks burned. 

RAW VIDEO: Chopper 5 Flies Over Superior Refinery Fire

"If you look at a refinery, technology is always improving just like IT or computers do," Schade said. "So we are always going to be examining new technology and what's available out there."


Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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