If oil is the blood of the world (and it is), then the oil refinery could be thought of as both the heart and brains of the operation. Oil refineries are where we take the raw crude oil sucked out of the earth, process it and pump out the thousands of different kinds of products that drive and support our comfortable, first-world lives.
Oil is everywhere: It's in our plastics, our foods, our clothes, and even our medicines, but to get to the products, the raw material must be cracked, boiled, catalyzed and processed. Oil refineries are one of society's great necessary evils. On one hand, they provide one of the building blocks of modern life, but on the other hand, they create all kinds of pollution.
Oil refineries are smelly, polluted places. Here are seven of the worst neighborhoods located next to refineries. (If it seems like we're picking on Texas, consider first that the state refines more than a third of the nation's oil and is home to half of the 20 biggest refineries in the country.) (Text: Shea Gunther)
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