News Release | Environment Texas

Petrochemical facilities release more than two million pounds of pollution during Hurricane Harvey

As Houston’s sweeping petrochemical industry shuts down because of tropical storm Harvey, it is releasing more than 2 million pounds of harmful pollution into the air, according to its initial reports to Texas regulators. The shutdowns include the Houston-area refineries of Exxon Mobil, Petrobras and Shell, as well as Chevron Phillips’ Cedar Bayou petrochemical complex.

News Release | Environment Texas

Federal judge rejects Exxon's request to reduce record-setting $20 million Clean Air Act penalty

HOUSTON – In another stinging setback for ExxonMobil in a long-running environmental enforcement case, a federal district judge in Houston denied ExxonMobil’s motion to reduce the size of the $19.95 million penalty the judge had ordered in April to punish the company for committing 16,386 days of violation of the federal Clean Air Act at its Baytown, Texas, refinery and chemical plant. 

News Release | Environment Texas

US House votes to weaken Clean Air Act

HOUSTON - Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted 235-188 to adopt H.R. 806, sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land). Dubbed the “Smoggy Skies Act,” the measure would permanently weaken the Clean Air Act, block updated ozone pollution limits for years, and impose sweeping changes to future standards for smog-forming ozone and five other major air pollutants.

Report | Environment Texas and Environmental Integrity Project

Breakdowns in Enforcement

A review of five years of state records by the Environmental Integrity Project and Environment Texas shows that the state imposed penalties on less than 3 percent of the illegal pollution releases (588 out of 24,839) reported by companies during maintenance or malfunctions from 2011 through 2016, even though the incidents released more than 500 million pounds of air pollution.

News Release | Environment Texas and Environmental Integrity Project

Texas fails to penalize 97 percent of illegal air pollution releases

Texas imposed penalties on less than 3 percent of illegal air pollution releases during industrial malfunctions and maintenance from 2011 through 2016, even though these incidents emitted more than 500 million pounds of pollutants, according to an analysis of state records by the Environmental Integrity Project and Environment Texas. A new report, “Breakdowns in Enforcement,” ranks the worst illegal air pollution events from oil refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities across Texas in 2016. The report concludes that the infrequency and small size of the state’s fines (averaging just three pennies per pound for pollution) are a major problem, because the lack of enforcement means that the owners are less likely to invest money to upgrade and repair known problems.

News Release | Environment Texas

Watson, Howard Lead Legislature in Environmental Voting

AUSTIN – Austin state Sen. Kirk Watson and Rep. Donna Howard were the only two legislators to get perfect marks on Environment Texas’ biennial scorecard of environmental votes in the Texas Legislature, the group reported today. Meanwhile a record 27 legislators failed to cast a single vote for the environment.  

News Release | Environment Texas

Governor Abbott vetoes clean air funding

AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott today vetoed funding for two crucial programs for reducing air pollution in the state. “This veto is penny wise and pound foolish,” said Brian Zabcik, the Clean Air & Clean Water Advocate at Environment Texas. “It sacrifices the long-term health of all Texans for an imagined financial gain.”

Headline

Online tool to track air pollution in Texas debuts

Air pollution happens every day in Houston. Sometimes, that pollution is well within permit limits, considered safe by state environmental regulators, and sometimes, it's not. So how do Houston residents who care about air quality tell the difference? Several environmental groups have recently debuted a handy new tool that notifies people when a Texas industry anticipates releasing air pollution that exceeds permitted limits.

News Release | Environment Texas

Federal court: Exxon violated Clean Air Act over 16,000 times, must pay $19.95 million penalty

HOUSTON – After initially ruling in favor of ExxonMobil Corporation and then getting overturned on appeal, a federal district court has found that Exxon committed 16,386 days of violation of the federal Clean Air Act at its Baytown, Texas, refinery and chemical plant.  As a result, the court has ordered Exxon to pay $19.95 million, which is believed to be the largest civil penalty ever imposed in an environmental “citizen suit,” a citizen-initiated enforcement mechanism Congress included in the Clean Air Act and other federal environmental laws.  

News Release | Environment Texas

Houston’s health at risk with 107 dirty air days in 2016

HOUSTON – Preliminary data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that Houston experienced an uptick in unhealthy smog days in 2016, increasing the risk of asthma attacks and other health problems. The finding comes as President Trump and a Texas lawmaker have begun separate efforts to weaken air quality protections.

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