orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

April 24, 2013

Two Southeast Texas plants on list of repeated breakdowns, pollution

(Continued)

PORT ARTHUR —

The letter to the Inspector General was sent by Environmental Integrity Project, Air Alliance Houston, Community In-Power and Development Association, Earthjustice, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Public Citizen Texas, Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, and Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

The letter identifies 20 facilities with combined releases of 49,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and other hazardous pollutants.  The five plants reporting the most emissions over the four year period due to upsets are:   

• Keystone Gas Plant in Winkler County with 13,852 tons of air pollution from 239 incidents;

• ExxonMobil Beaumont in Jefferson County with 6,435 tons of air pollution from 70 incidents;  

• Mallet CO2 Recovery Plant in Hockley County with 4,004 tons of air pollution from 110 incidents;

• Goldsmith Gas Plant in Ector County with 3,855 tons of air pollution from 240 incidents; and

• Valero Port Arthur Refinery in Jefferson County with 3,159 tons of air pollution from 100 incidents.

Environmental Integrity Project Director Eric Schaeffer said: “Enough is enough. These breakdowns release thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants that degrade air quality and can be harmful to communities nearby.  We understand that even well run plants with state of the art pollution controls may occasionally have a malfunction.  But these 20 plants combined reported more than two thousand incidents over the past four years.  When breakdowns become the routine, facilities should be required to fix the problem by upgrading equipment and improving their operations.”

Dr. Neil Carman, Lone Star Chapter of Sierra Club said: "These uncontrolled industrial emissions in Texas need to be dealt with by the EPA, since the state of Texas under the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been ineffective in preventing these toxic pollutants. The volumes of these emissions are extraordinarily high and many of the plants are sited in or adjacent to communities, exposing people to toxic air pollution."

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