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The Iron Law of Toxic Extraction

By Carl Pope

The alkylation unit at this Tesoro refinery might serve as the gateway to the Norse hell. A network of pipes carries sulfuric acid, kept below 0 centigrade to avoid boiling. The acid corrodes the pipes as it surges to catalyze and break the energy chains of highly explosive hydrocarbons. Constant care and vigilance are vital. But workers here feared the alkylation unit. Tesoro refused to fix corroded and leaky pipes and provided insufficient acid to stabilize the catalytic process. It was not surprising last week when the pipes burst, and two workers had to be helicoptered to the hospital. Indeed, …read more

Source: Huffington Post Green