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Baton Rouge's Corroded, Overpolluting Neighbor: Exxon Mobil

May 31, 2013
(NPR)

If you stand in front of Almena and Sidney Poray's house in Baton Rouge, La., and look straight down the street, past the other houses and the shade trees, you see more than a dozen plumes of exhaust in various hues of gray and white.

"That's something you see every day, the same thing if not more," says Almena Poray. "Sometimes it's a darker gray; sometimes it's a black smoke coming out."

The Porays live in a neighborhood called Standard Heights — originally home to workers at a refinery built by Standard Oil in 1909, just after Ford introduced its Model T and made cars affordable for the masses.

Now the refinery, owned by Exxon Mobil, is the second largest in the country and part of an industrial complex the size of 250 Superdomes.