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

Environmental Groups File Federal Lawsuit Over Air Pollution from Industrial Flares

A coalition of ten environmental organizations today sued the Trump Administration’s EPA over its failure reduce toxic air pollution from industrial flares at petrochemical plants, gas processing facilities, municipal solid waste landfills, and other large industrial sites.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Pres. Trump challenged about Texas pollution in debate

AUSTIN, Texas -  During Thursday’s presidential debate, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News asked President Donald Trump about information recently detailed in an Environment Texas Research and Policy Center report showing illegal air pollution in Texas has risen 155 percent since 2015. The report pointed to lax Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement and environmental rollbacks as contributing to the increase.

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

New report: Illegal air pollution in Texas has doubled since 2015

Illegal air pollution from Texas industrial facilities more than doubled under the Trump administration, rising to 174 million pounds in 2019, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. The group pointed to lax EPA enforcement and environmental rollbacks as contributing to the increase.

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Illegal Air Pollution in Texas 2020

According to our analysis of violations self-reported by companies to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, industrial facilities released over 174 million pounds of unauthorized air pollution in 2019, an increase of 155 percent since 2015.

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Blog Post

Testimony on proposed changes to TCEQ Penalty Policy | Catherine Fraser

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality considered changes to its penalty policy at a work session this morning. We submitted comments together with Public Citizen and the Sierra Club and I delivered the following testimony.

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