LyondellBasell Morris Complex

The LyondellBasell Morris Complex is one of the biggest facilities for the manufacture of petrochemicals in the Midwestern United States. Close to 420 contractors and employees work at the site, which itself encompasses close to 900 acres in area. The plant uses a feedstock of natural gas liquids to manufacture the most widely used petrochemical in the world, ethylene. Upon its manufacture, ethylene is converted into polypropylene and polyethylene plastic resins. These resins are essentially the building blocks for a wide range of products that allow people to participate in modern living, including shatter proof and leak proof containers for household and industrial chemicals, toys for children that are both durable and safe, and packaging that keeps food from becoming both contaminated and spoiled.

The commitment the complex has demonstrated toward growth that is sustainable balances the company’s responsibility to provide fiscal value to the individuals who hold stocks in the company. At the same time, however, the complex respects the community’s social concerns while operating within the community, and also demonstrates understanding of the environment in which the company is situated.

In 2010 the Morris plant started a major maintenance project known as a Turnaround (TA).  This TA was a multi-million dollar investment ensuring their facility as a long-term viable asset to the community and those who work in the chemical plant. The plant promised that this TA would create local jobs and use local companies to supply goods and services.  However, in May of 2010, hundreds protested at Morris Complex. Mostly unemployed union workers, they were angry at the company for hiring out – of – state workers to perform temporary work at the facility during the Turnaround.
Despite the commitment the complex may have made to environmental safety, it is likely that their facilities are anything but safe for their workers.  Asbestos is a common fiber that was used as an effective insulator for many chemical plants like Morris Complex, built before 1980.  Once the fibers become loose, it is then airborne causing very serious health risks for those who have come in contact with it. One such illness is mesothelioma. A fatal cancer that has a latency period of 20 to 50 years, mesothelioma is usually untreatable due to the decades of time it had to grow before it was detected and treated.