Jenks residents still worry about butane storage tanks


Residents of Jenks in northeast Oklahoma continue to express worries about a Phillips 66 butane storage terminal in their city.

Keep Jenks Safe, a group of concerned citizens has gathered at least 1,000 signatures on a petition to stop construction of any new butane tanks which were approved last year by the Jenks City Council. One 60,000-gallon tank is already in place.

Sixty years ago when the butane terminal was built, it was two miles outside of the city limits. But over the years, the growth of the city has spread around the terminal which is located one-half mile from the Creek Turnpike.

The group opposed to the terminal expansion plans what it calls a “safety seminar” Aug. 9 and has hired attorney David Randolph.

“Its a bad deal for Jenks,” he recently told The Tulsa World. 

Randolph expressed concerns over youth-league baseball and soccer fields a mile from the butane tanks. He contends more than 100 nearby homes are at risk too, noting that the blast radium for a butane tank explosion would be at least one-half mile.

“This type of facility simply doesn’t belong in a populated area,” added the attorney.

Environmental consultant Fred Storer is also concerned that the city has wrongly allowed residential and commercial development to be too close to the butane-blending facility. He says any explosion would not only hit a nearby Walmart Supercenter but traffic on a nearby highway.

“In such an extreme event, trucks on U.S. 75 would be toppled,” Storer said. “In the event of a fire involving the butane facilities, it would be necessary to close U.S. 75.”

But Phillips 66 maintains the operation has a good safety record and that safety precautions exceed regulatory requirements.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our employees and communities where we live and work,” said company spokesman Rich Johnson, noting that the Jenks facility has not seen any employee injuries in nearly four decades. “That same commitment to safety has been applied to our butane blending project.”