A mile-long vapour cloud was released from ESSO / Imperial Oil on Tuesday, May 17th. No emergency siren was sounded after this blue-ish grey cloud drifted away from the plant. At first, Imperial Oil did not publicly take responsibility for the release. When the company did acknowledge that the cloud came from their facilities, they made excuses and said that cloud was made up of sulphur dioxide which was supposed to have been completely non-toxic.
The Observer reported that:
St. Clair Township Fire Chief Roy Dewhirst was one of those who witnessed the blue/gray plume as it wafted over Mooretown, which he described as a low-flying cloud carried on north winds. …
“It was fairly fast moving. It went on down south. It had kind of a crude-oily smell,” he said.
The plume was seen by people as far north as the Lambton Fire School, Lanxess and Provident Energy.
We responded to all of this a very small rally on a busier street corner. Our smallest sign said “Demand more from City Hall”.
On Thursday, the company publicly apologized to “anyone inconvenienced” by their mile-long cloud — without even pretending that they would improve on their standards and practices.
Earler on that Thursday, Imperial Oil also was welcomed into a shale gas conference for industry representatives and supporters (including mayor Mike Bradley).