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.

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. It’s clear we need to take firm action to force Texas’ biggest polluters to clean up their act.

A winning legal strategy

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

With our legal action against Shell Oil in 2009 and now against ExxonMobil, we're taking a powerful stand against Texas' biggest air polluters.

We're also creating a precedent that will reverberate throughout the oil industry and put renewed pressure on regulators to stand up for our health.

The latest in our court case

Our lawsuit went to trial in a federal courthouse in Houston in February. Our attorneys are now writing final briefs which must be submitted by mid-June. Judge David Hittner will rule on the lawsuit sometime thereafter.

Click here to join our campaign, and urge the EPA to crack down on Texas' worst polluters.

Clean air updates

News Release | Environment Texas

US House votes to weaken Clean Air Act

Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to adopt H.R. 4775, sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas). 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.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Federal appeals court rules for environmental groups in major clean air act case against Exxon

HOUSTON – At a press conference in front of the federal district courthouse today, environmental groups will cheer a federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that has reinstated their Clean Air Act enforcement suit against ExxonMobil Corporation concerning thousands of air pollution violations at the company’s Baytown, Texas, oil refinery and chemical plant complex. Last Friday, in a 40-page decision, a unanimous three-judge appellate panel held that U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner “erred in [his] analysis of Exxon’s liability” and “abused [his] discretion” by refusing to assess a civil penalty for Exxon’s thousands of admitted violations of the law.

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Headline

5th Circ. Revives Enviros' $641M Exxon Pollution Suit

Exxon Mobil Corp. will have to face a $641 million suit brought by environmentalists over emissions at its Baytown, Texas, refinery, the Fifth Circuit said Friday in an opinion that panned portions of the trial court’s ruling in Exxon's favor as “irreconcilably inconsistent.”

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News Release | Environment Texas

Texas breakdown: 68 million pounds of pollution released during industrial malfunctions and maintenance last year

AUSTIN-- More than 68 million pounds of mostly illegal air pollution poured from 679 facilities in Texas during 3,421 incidents of breakdowns and maintenance in 2015, according to a new report based on state records.

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Report | Environment Texas and Environmental Integrity Project

Breakdowns in Air Quality

Texas leads the nation in energy production. But being number one also has its downsides in terms of air pollution. Well known for its hands-off approach to environmental enforcement, Texas allows industries to release excessive amounts of air pollution when old and poorly controlled equipment breaks down and when facilities undergo maintenance work. 
In 2015, 679 industrial sites in more than 100 Texas counties released more than 34,000 tons of air pollutants during 3,421 incidents of malfunctions and maintenance events, according to industry self-reported data.

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