Husky Energy Holds Open House to Answer Community Questions

Refinery officials and government regulatory agencies updated their progress

SUPERIOR, Wis. – For the first time since a major fire and explosion in April, Husky Energy is meeting with the public and answering their questions about the state of their Superior refinery and possible environmental concerns.

Husky officials were joined by representatives from local, state, and federal regulatory agencies updating the community about their efforts to determine the cause of the explosion and fire and the ongoing efforts to monitor air and water quality.

Husky Energy spent Tuesday night collecting questions and contact information from concerned citizens with specific questions about the refinery rebuilding process.

“I’m not going to say we’re going to have every question answered tonight but we’re going to do our best to understand what the concerns of the citizens are and move forward,” said Kollin Schade, the General Manager of the Superior Refinery.

Lifelong Superior resident, Jake Swanson recently bought a house about two miles from the Superior refinery.

He wanted to learn details about the ongoing containment work in his community.

“I know they put the fire out at six o’clock and then they jumped on containment for the animals in the water and stuff like that,” said Swanson. “I just wanted to see what they were going to continue to do.”

Swanson tells us he has no concerns about living in Superior moving forward because of how well the disaster was handled.

“The only way you can know for sure if things work is in an emergency and you never wish that to happen but it did and we saw that everything happened the way it should, it was very nice to see,” said Swanson.

Since the explosion happened, the EPA says they haven’t found any potential public health concerns.

They continue to monitor air quality inside the refinery, on the refinery’s fence line, and throughout Superior.

They and other agencies have been studying environmental factors before, during, and after the fire.

“We’re looking at things like water clarity, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, basic parameters, and with those things, it’s a little bit soon for us to tell if there’s any kind of a difference,” said Erika Washburn, manager of Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Husky Energy says they are committed to keeping the Superior refinery open.

They tell us about 250-300 employees continue to work there every day, which they say is similar to a normal operating day.

“Every Husky employee, nobody has been laid off,” said Schade. “They’ve been guaranteed that their jobs will remain so that’s a very important facet for us all.”

Husky tells us there is no timetable on when the investigation into the cause of the fire will be complete or when the refinery will reopen.

 

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