Hurricane of Toxins: How Chemical Companies Respond to Big Storms

In the eye of a hurricane, oil and chemical hubs pose a toxic threat to surrounding communities.


When the plants shut down before big storms, they produce an onslaught of toxic pollution which puts nearby areas at risk of exposure. Furthermore, following a big storm there is often oil and chemical run-off into water sources and soil due to uncontrolled damage. While oil and chemical plants do have hurricane procedures, their plans tend to only involve temporarily shutting down the plant and do not consider addressing the harmful aftermath in nearby communities.

Considering the recent news that Hurricane Ida hit one of the nation’s largest chemical, petroleum, and natural gas hubs in Louisiana, we are highlighting archived documents from chemical plant companies like Dow and PPG on hurricane procedures.

Below is a confidential document from the chemical company Dow (which is among the three largest chemical producers in the world) on their hurricane procedures:


They state their objectives as “1. To assure the safety of plant personnel.” and “2. Minimize plant damage and lose of production,” however, there is no mention in their documents about ensuring the safety of the areas surrounding the plant. This omission can be seen in the other documents highlighted below:

General Hurricane Plan for A Chemical Plant

Hurrican Procedures

With reports already emerging about the damage caused by Hurricane Ida to some of the largest chemical and oil plants in the nation, these documents point to the historic oversight of communities near chemical and oil plants.