Another Houston Chemical Plant Accused of Polluting

In June, Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott filed a lawsuit against British Petroleum Products, for what he called the worst act of polluting he’d ever seen. Now, Chevron Phillips Chemical finds itself at the other end of a lawsuit as well. The action claims Chevron’s Cedar Bayou plant of violating the clean air act. Bill Stamps has more.


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The Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in the Houston Ship Channel is the third local facility in a year to be taken to court. The Sierra Club and Environment Texas teamed up to file this latest lawsuit. The court action alleges the company violated pollution standards going as far back as 2003. Luke Metzger with Environment Texas explains:

“These companies, Chevron Phillips has a permit, it says how much they’re allowed to pollute and by their own admission they are exceeding those permits. Thereby, they are violating the law and they must be held accountable.”

While the previous two lawsuits against chemical companies were brought on by the attorney general, they aren’t enough the groups say. Metzger believes the reason more companies aren’t penalized or taken to court is because of politics.

“Governor Perry and others take large amounts of contributions from the polluting industry and I would allege that that contributes to the enforcement program at TCQE.”

Neil Carman with the Sierra Club believes the pollution problems are avoidable.

“Nearly a hundred percent of these upset emissions are preventable, if the companies would spend the money and take the time to comply with the law.”

A spokesman with Chevron Phillips says it’s not that simple. Brian Cain says the company acknowledges the mishaps but says much of it was out of their control.

“Some of the air emission violations came as a result of hurricanes — Ike and Rita — as well as power outages that were outside the company’s control but since 2001 this plant has reduced its total reportable emissions events by more than 73-percent.”

Lawyers for both sides have reportedly met and are optimistic the case can be resolved. The Sierra Club says Chevron Phillips isn’t the only major polluter out there and they’re planning future legal action against those companies as well.
Bill Stamps. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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