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 proposes plan to reduce air pollution in Big Bend National Park

AUSTIN - Today, Environment Texas applauded a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce air pollution in Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. EPA's action, required by the Clean Air Act, will reduce the haze that has impaired visibility in some of Texas' most loved parks. The proposal comes after EPA determined a haze plan submitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) - in which views at Big Bend would be obscured until the year 2155 - "did not adequately address" certain legal requirements. Eight Texas power plants will be required to install pollution controls to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by a total of 230,000 tons per year.   

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Headline

Tougher standards on air emissions draw debate in Houston

The EPA is considering forcing plants and refineries to cut the amount of hazardous chemicals and other pollutants released into the air by thousands of tons a year.

"It's critical federal regulations be far stricter across the board," said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.

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Blog Post

EPA proposes new rules to cut refinery pollution | Luke Metzger

The Environment Protection Agency has just released a plan to protect fenceline communities from toxic oil refinery pollution, which includes long overdue health standards and expanded air monitoring. If adopted, EPA estimates the new standards would cut 5,600 tons of harmful chemicals from the air each year.

On Tuesday, EPA held a hearing in Galena Park, TX (outside Houston) to solicit public comment on the proposed rule. Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger attended the hearing and delivered the following testimony:

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Blog Post

Meet the 2014 Environment Texas summer intern team | Luke Metzger

Every semester, we recruit and train college students to learn the skills of environmental advocacy and work alongside our staff to win real results for Texas' air, land and water. We've got a great group working with us this summer - read all about them below!

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News Release | Environment Texas

Environment Texas Welcomes EPA Proposal to Cut Refinery Pollution

AUSTIN - Environment Texas praised a draft proposal announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would require refineries to reduce toxic emissions and install fence line monitors to detect — and warn residents about — pollutants emitted into surrounding neighborhoods. 

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