Husky Energy Discusses Rebuild Efforts at Open House, Residents Voice Concerns

Taylor Holt
Updated: April 16, 2019 10:40 PM

Next Friday will mark a year since fires and an explosion tore through Superior's Husky Refinery. Tuesday night, Twin Ports residents had the chance to learn more about how the company plans to move forward, and also voiced lingering concerns.

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Jo Haberman, recalled the incident a year ago.

"Part of my neighborhood, which is Park Point was evacuated. It was close to my apartment and too close for comfort so my granddaughter and I evacuated Duluth and Superior," said Haberman. "She was so terrified, and I was also terrified."

She says lingering concerns for safety brought them out to Husky's open house, as the company presented their rebuilding plans.  

"It's absolutely clear to me that Husky needs to replace Hydrogen Fluoride. They can afford to replace it. It's a public safety issue," said Haberman.

"I'm concerned about the water. I'm concerned about our proximity," said Christina Schleicher, a Twin Ports resident. " If something where to happen what is in place for that."

Monday night, Husky's General Manager said they stand by their decision to continue using the chemical.

"When you look at the gasoline as a product that the refinery really likes to provide for Superior itself, the HF alkylation unit is a vital component of that motor gasoline, so right now we are intending to maintain that operation," said Kollin Schade.

However, he says there will be additional safety measures. Informational booths were set up for that and other improvements they are making.

"We're a learning refinery. We know there are things we can improve on both safety and environmental, and we're going to support those during the rebuild process," Schade added.

Schade says they expect demolition to finish by early Fall and reconstruction to start soon after.

"You're going to see the landscape change almost daily. Right now, you'll see towers come down," he said.

He says employment levels at the refinery have remained the same and as for the investigation, they are still waiting on a final report. 

"We had two investigations ongoing, the chemical safety board and then our own internal investigation. Both have largely concluded similar issues and that was the slide valve that failed," said Schade.

To date, 3,400 claims have been resolved. They expect a mid 2021 completion date for full operations.


Taylor Holt

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