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Husky hearing offers opportunity for public to speak up

The United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board will host a public town hall meeting at 10 a.m. Dec. 12 in the University of Wisconsin Superior's Yellowjacket Union in Superior about the Husky Energy refinery explosion and fire.

The meeting is open to the public and attendees can make public comments for up to three minutes. The Board will provide the public with a "factual update" on its inquiry into the refinery's April 26 explosion and fire.

Requested by five members of Congress, including Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the remainder from Minnesota will give the public an opportunity to comment on hydrogen fluoride used at the Husky refinery in Superior.

Breathing in hydrogen fluoride at high levels, or in combination with skin contact, can cause death from an irregular heartbeat or from fluid buildup in the lungs. No hydrogen fluoride was released in the blast or fire.

This is your chance to speak and potentially make a difference if you feel the continued use of this chemical at the Husky refinery is a health risk to the 180,000 people in our Superior/Duluth area. The evacuation was mainly because of the risk for the dispersal of HF to our area. Other refineries across the nation have stopped its use and a new one is being built without HF. Conversion is expensive for the corporation, $50 million. It is their opportunity to consider the health of this community into the future.