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

Largest-Ever Clean Air Act Lawsuit Filed In Texas Goes To Trial In Houston Federal Court

A federal trial against Exxon Mobil is getting underway today in Houston. Citizens' groups claim Exxon Mobil repeatedly violated clean air standards with the emissions from its refinery in Baytown. The Sierra Club and Environment Texas are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The groups say Exxon Mobil has had 4,000 so-called "emissions events" at its Baytown refinery since 2005.

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Headline

Exxon Deserves $630M CAA Penalty, Enviros Say

The Sierra Club and Environment Texas Citizens Lobby Inc. told a Texas federal judge Monday that Exxon Mobil Corp. should cough up $630 million under the Clean Air Act for allegedly spewing more than 10 million pounds of noxious chemicals from a Houston-area plant.

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Headline

Exxon trial begins over air pollution at nation's 2nd largest oil refinery

A trial to determine whether Exxon Mobil Corp. broke federal air pollution laws at its sprawling Baytown refinery and chemical plant is set to begin in federal court in Houston on Monday. 

In 2010, the Sierra Club and Environment Texas sued Exxon, claiming Baytown had broken its federal air permits. Using the company’s own reports to regulators, the groups claimed that between 2005 and 2010 there had been thousands of accidental releases at the refinery. By their calculation, Baytown unlawfully emitted more than 8 million pounds of pollutants, including benzene and sulfur dioxide, into the atmosphere.

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Headline

Clean Air advocates take Exxon to court

Environmentalists are heading to federal court in Houston to force Exxon Mobil Corp. to reduce air pollution at the nation's largest petroleum and petrochemical complex - something they say the government hasn't done.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Trial Begins Monday in Clean Air Act Lawsuit Against ExxonMobil

HOUSTON – Trial begins Monday in a Houston federal courtroom in a lawsuit filed by Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter and Environment Texas against ExxonMobil for massive and repeated violations of the Clean Air Act at the oil giant’s Baytown manufacturing facility, the largest in the nation. The lawsuit, which will be presided over by U.S. District Judge David Hittner, accuses ExxonMobil under the Clean Air Act (CAA) of releasing nearly 10 million pounds of pollutants in over 4,000 so-called “emission events” since 2005 from its refinery-chemical plant complex in Baytown, TX, endangering the health and safety of thousands of Houston-area residents.

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