Environmental Groups Take Exxon to Court

Two environmental groups take steps to sue Exxon Mobil over pollution from its Baytown refinery. Rod Rice reports.

Environment Texas and the Sierra Club have given Exxon Mobil official notice of their intent to sue. The 60-day notice is required under the Clean Air Act. The groups say there have been 10-million pounds of illegal pollution in the last five years. Neil Carman, with the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, says the illegal emissions are based on Exxon’s own figures.

“Two million pounds of volatile organic compounds; six million pounds of carbon monoxide; 275-thousand pounds of nitrogen oxide, and these nitrogen oxides cause air pollution; 35-thousand pounds of benzene and 60-thousand pounds of the illegal 1,3 butadiene, and these are carcinogenic chemicals.”

Carmen says the Clean Air Act allows citizens to sue and since neither state nor federal authorities have put a stop to the pollution, the Sierra Club and Environment Texas have begun the process.

Carman says they’ve had success in a similar suit in the past against Shell’s Deer Park Plant.

“We were able to negotiate, without going to a trial, so that is also possible in the Exxon case.”

The $5.8 million settlement with Shell forced it to make changes to ensure cleaner operations.

Exxon says it dose not comment on pending litigation.

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