A Day In the Life of an Environmental Advocate

By | Emma Pabst
Environment Texas Associate

On Thursday I hosted a press conference about our new report on illegal air pollution in San Antonio, and I had to wake up at the unholy hour of… 6am. Okay, so, I know I’ve made it through worse, but 6am?! I can barely manage to make breakfast at that hour, let alone pull together the materials for an entire press conference.

News Release | Environment Texas

Polluters spewed 63 million pounds of unauthorized air pollution in 2017, few penalized

AUSTIN -- Texas industrial facilities reported releasing more than 63 million pounds of air pollution without authorization in 2017, a 27 percent increase over the previous year, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. While the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) could issue fines as high as $2.3 billion for 2017 violations, the report found the agency only levied a total of $1.2 million in fines in 2017 or 2 cents per pound of pollution.

Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Major Malfunction

Industrial facilities in Texas continue to violate their Clean Air Act permits by releasing large amounts of air contaminants during “emissions events” or “upsets” — the regulatory terms used to describe unauthorized emissions from equipment breakdowns, process malfunctions, operator errors or maintenance work. Emissions events are supposed to be accidental, unanticipated releases of air pollution. However, the data show that these events occur so frequently as to be almost routine at some facilities, and often involve large releases of health threatening pollution. A recent study found that emissions events in Texas lead to the premature deaths of at least 16 people and $148 million in health-related costs per year. According to reports filed by companies through the State of Texas Electronic Emissions Reporting System (STEERS) in 2017, 275 companies reported 4,067 breakdowns, maintenance incidents, and other emissions events that resulted in the release of more than 63 million pounds of illegal air pollution.

News Release | Environment Texas

Petrobras settles air pollution suit against Pasadena refinery

HOUSTON – Environment Texas and Sierra Club announced today that they have filed a proposed consent decree in federal court to settle their citizen enforcement lawsuit against Pasadena Refining System, Inc. PRSI is owned by Petrobras (Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.), the state-controlled oil company of Brazil.

Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Trouble in the Air

People across America regularly breathe unhealthy air that increases their risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts. In 2016, 73 million Americans experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality with the potential to harm human health. That is equal to more than three months of the year in which smog and/or particulate pollution was above the level that the EPA has determined presents “little to no risk.” Millions more people in urban and rural areas experienced less frequent but still damaging levels of air pollution. To safeguard public health, the nation needs to preserve and strengthen existing air quality protections at the federal and state level and move to reduce the future air pollution threats posed by global warming.

News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Trouble in the Air: Texas’ health at risk with dirty air days in 2016

AUSTIN – As the Trump administration considers weakening federal air quality and global warming emissions standards, air pollution remains a threat to public health. According to a new report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, over 23 million people who make up the 20 main metropolitan and micropolitan urban areas in Texas experienced at least 5 days of degraded air quality in 2016, increasing the risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts. Included in the 23 million are over 6.7 million people in the Houston metro area who experienced 85 days degraded air quality, over 2.4 million people in San Antonio Metro area who experienced 36 days of degraded air quality, and over 2 million people in the Austin metro area who experienced 46 days of degraded air quality in 2016.

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