Petroleum, Refineries, and the Future

Potential Solutions

Changes to Refineries

Although changes have been made to help improve the health of oil refineries, the above summarized research indicates that there is a near constant increase in the number of health implications of population centers situated near to oil refineries. This shows that the current changes have not been enough. Workers in this field are still statistically significantly more impacted than their counterparts in other fields, and that’s due in part to the lax safety measures from the companies themselves. In order to protect the health of their worker base and of the surrounding population centers, oil refineries should instead look to remove themselves from population centers and increase the monitoring of their pollution through the use of diffusive air sampling which is done by measuring the parts per million concentration of pollutants in the surrounding atmosphere. This would help to ensure that surrounding population centers are safe from pollution, and that oil refinery employees are only exposed to safer levels of carcinogens.

Potential Solutions

    I believe that, based on the evidence provided above, in order to reduce the health implications on populations, governments should require refineries be dispersed from population centers. The costs of building new infrastructure and the efficiency of systems already in place are outweighed by the problems. These problems include the relationship of decreased health among populations located by oil refineries, the decrease in the health among almost all workers at oil refineries, and the health effects in children. To help improve the health of the communities, these oil refineries should be moved further away.

The cost of infrastructure I believe could be covered with a slight increase in tax percentage that goes to industry, and this could be removed from the sugar industry which currently is given a grant to farm sugar cane in the South. In all of the research I studied the health of communities in excess of 200 miles away from a refinery were greatly improved from the health of communities that were located within that radius of an oil refinery. Efficiency would not be sacrificed in this model, due to the average increase of transportation times to exporting locations only being increased by approximately three hours. I believe that due to the huge influx of oil money that has recently come into the State of North Dakota, this model could be easily implemented. The money that would have been spent on creating new infrastructure will remain the same; however, due to the sparser population it would be far easier to make sure that refineries are located at least 200 miles away from population centers. These circumstances make a North Dakota oil refinery the perfect testing ground for these new policies. This would help to protect the health of the towns in North Dakota, increase their economy, and would not provide a significant impact on the efficiency of the systems already in place.


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