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

News Release | Environment Texas

EPA announces final rule to curb refinery pollution and improve public health

The Environment Protection Agency has just released a final rule designed to protect communities from toxic oil refinery pollution, which includes long overdue health standards and expanded air monitoring along refinery fencelines.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Clean air - What's the big deal? | Sara E Smith

Pollution from refineries and chemical plants makes people sick, from serious trouble breathing, to heart attacks and even premature death. But, state regulators, like the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), largely look the other way even when we know for a fact that big polluters are breaking the law.

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Blog Post

Opposition grows to TX official serving on EPA clean air panel | Luke Metzger

Today, seven of Texas' leading air quality advocates wrote the EPA in opposition to the Texas state toxicologist serving on a key federal clean air panel. The group charges Dr. Michael Honeycutt with “an appearance of a loss of impartiality,” disqualifying him from serving on the EPA's Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC). CASAC plays a powerful role in setting science-based federal policy on air quality.

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Headline

Coal permits are protested

A watchdog group says Texas’ environmental agency, working with electric companies, violated the federal Clean Air Act by increasing allowable power plant emissions without telling the public or the EPA.

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Headline

Messing with Texas: Can the state block the EPA's Clean Power Plan?

Lone Star State legislators think they have devised a way to keep the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) from messing with Texas.

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