News Release | Environment Texas

Environment Texas releases scorecard, calls legislative session a “net positive”

AUSTIN - Ten legislators earned perfect scores on Environment Texas’ biennial scorecard, following a legislative session the group called a “net positive” for the environment. The group heralded victories on air quality, parks and renewable energy, while pointing out losses on water quality and environmental enforcement.  

Happy Sine Die! On this last day of the 86th session of the Texas Legislature, it appears we'll end up with mixed results for the environment. It could have been worse. Polluters have a lot of power in the #txlege, so it's remarkable what was accomplished. Assuming the Governor signs all the bills, this is my read on the highlights and lowlights of session.

News Release | Environment Texas

Valero faces clean air lawsuit for violations at Port Arthur, Texas refinery

PORT ARTHUR, Texas -- Environment Texas, Sierra Club and the Port Arthur Community Action Network (PA-CAN) announced today their intent to sue Valero Energy Corporation and the Premcor Refining Group, Inc., in federal court for violating the federal Clean Air Act at their Port Arthur, Texas refinery during hundreds of so-called “emission events” that have occurred since May 2014. 

19 days left in the Texas legislature

By | Luke Metzger
Executive Director

We're down to less than 19 days left in the Legislative session. Here's where we stand.

My name is Luke Metzger and I am the Executive Director of Environment Texas, and I am here in support of HB3035. The problem we hope to address today goes back decades.

In 2003, the State Auditor found that TCEQ’s enforcement policy “does not consistently ensure violators are held accountable”. After looking into 80 cases and finding an economic benefit of $8.6 million, it was discovered that fines totaled to only $1.6 million, or 19% of the economic benefit.

41 days to go - how the environment is faring in the #txlege

By | Luke Metzger
Executive Director

With 41 days left in the Legislative session, we’re in crunch time. The conventional wisdom is that if bills haven’t been scheduled a hearing by now, they’re likely dead. As such, let’s look at what’s still standing.  

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.

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