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

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.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Statement: CPI Products facility fire

"No one expects these disasters to happen in central Texas, but the reality is that plastics are everywhere. They’re in our pantries, our clothes, and even our drinking water -- and when a plant catches fire, they’re in our air, too. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We need to start asking bigger questions about why we allow the petrochemical industry to pollute our air in order to make plastic products that we often don’t need in the first place."

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Statement: BioLab chemical fire during Hurricane Laura

Ahead of Hurricane Laura, a number of facilities in Texas shut down, a process that requires releasing hazardous pollutants. The companies that run those plants, including Motiva Chemicals, told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that they planned to emit over 4 million pounds of pollution collectively. Early this morning, Motiva, restarting its facility in Port Arthur, Texas, said that it would release nearly 49,000 pounds of pollution.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Refineries, chemical plants release over 4 millions pounds of pollution as a result of Hurricane Laura | Catherine Fraser

Refineries and chemical plants along the Gulf Coast are shutting down ahead of Hurricane Laura’s landfall. These shutdown events, however, often are significant pollution events. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed