It’s time for Texas polluters to clean up their act

Pollution from refineries and chemical plants is making people sick, but regulators largely look the other way when big polluters break the law.

According to the UT School of Public Health, children living within two miles of the heavily industrialized Houston Ship Channel face a 56% greater risk of contracting leukemia, which researchers link to oil refineries and chemical plants. And our research has found that Houston-area petrochemical facilities violated clean air laws at least 405 times in 2015, illegally releasing 5 million pounds of pollution, including chemicals linked to asthma and cancer.

For example, ExxonMobil broke clean air laws at its Baytown oil refinery and chemical plant near Houston more than 4,000 times over five years—compounding Texas’ pollution problems and endangering the health of nearby residents.

Texas’ air quality is a major detriment to our quality of life and physical health. Poor air quality puts the most vulnerable among us, like children and seniors, at risk for asthma, strokes, and other illnesses. We have a moral responsibility to care for future generations and clean up Texas’ air to provide a better quality of life for those most at risk.

It’s clear we need to take firm action to force Texas’ biggest polluters to clean up their act. These companies should install stronger pollution controls to reduce pollution that can cause cancer and pay stiff penalties when they break the law.

A winning legal strategy

We’ve made progress in reducing air pollution in Texas in the last two decades, but more needs to be done. We need to get local, state and federal regulators to take enforcement action against big polluters and ensure clean air and compliance with the law. If citizens, communities, non-profit groups and our allies in government band together, we can force the big polluters to stop violating the law. Combining research, organizing of citizens and local elected officials, and litigation has cleaned up the air before and will again. 

Backed by our members, Environment Texas is standing up to ExxonMobil and other polluters, pressing regulators to act, and taking legal action. Using the same strategy that allowed us to force Shell Oil to clean up its Deer Park refinery in 2009, we’re exercising our right under the Clean Air Act to demand compliance with the law.

Cleaning up our air, one polluter at a time

Called by the Houston Chronicle one of the "toughest enforcers of clean-air laws in Texas," Environment Texas is taking a powerful stand against Texas' biggest air polluters.winning real results for clean air. Our lawsuits against Shell's Deer Park refinery and chemical plant and Chevron Phillips' Baytown chemical plant resulted in a reduction of one million pounds a year of air pollution in Houston. Our ongoing lawsuit against ExxonMobil's Baytown refinery offers the hope of further pollution reductions. We’ve also launched the Neighborhood Witness program to alert people living near polluting facilities when violations happen.

Click here to join our campaign, and urge the EPA to crack down on Texas' worst polluters.

Clean air updates

Headline

Exxon, Enviros Tangle Over Refinery Pollution Liability

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News Release | Environment Texas

US House votes to weaken Clean Air Act

Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to adopt H.R. 4775, sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas). Dubbed the “Smoggy Skies Act,” the measure would permanently weaken the Clean Air Act, block updated ozone pollution limits for years, and impose sweeping changes to future standards for smog-forming ozone and five other major air pollutants.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Federal appeals court rules for environmental groups in major clean air act case against Exxon

HOUSTON – At a press conference in front of the federal district courthouse today, environmental groups will cheer a federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that has reinstated their Clean Air Act enforcement suit against ExxonMobil Corporation concerning thousands of air pollution violations at the company’s Baytown, Texas, oil refinery and chemical plant complex. Last Friday, in a 40-page decision, a unanimous three-judge appellate panel held that U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner “erred in [his] analysis of Exxon’s liability” and “abused [his] discretion” by refusing to assess a civil penalty for Exxon’s thousands of admitted violations of the law.

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Headline

5th Circ. Revives Enviros' $641M Exxon Pollution Suit

Exxon Mobil Corp. will have to face a $641 million suit brought by environmentalists over emissions at its Baytown, Texas, refinery, the Fifth Circuit said Friday in an opinion that panned portions of the trial court’s ruling in Exxon's favor as “irreconcilably inconsistent.”

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News Release | Environment Texas

Texas breakdown: 68 million pounds of pollution released during industrial malfunctions and maintenance last year

AUSTIN-- More than 68 million pounds of mostly illegal air pollution poured from 679 facilities in Texas during 3,421 incidents of breakdowns and maintenance in 2015, according to a new report based on state records.

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