Energy & Environment

Valero Refinery Gets ‘Industrial District’ Designation

The Houston City Council has voted to de-annex a Valero refinery. That didn’t sit well with community activists.

Representatives from Valero sitting
Representatives from Valero respond to questions by council members.


The 11-6 vote means the Valero refinery next to the ship channel will be removed from the city limits and become a separate Industrial District.

Valero won’t have to pay property taxes to Houston and in return won’t receive city services. It will pay millions in annual fees as part of the agreement.

Community activists stand during City-Council
Community activists, including Ginny Goldman with Texas Organizing Project, left, stand during City Council’s discussion on the de-annexation of a Valero refinery.

Ginny Goldman with the Texas Organizing Project called the decision “shameful.”

“This is a complicated tax agreement,” she said. “It requires a lot of time and a lot of research to fully understand it, which is why we think it was irresponsible for this vote to be rushed through today without giving people more time to understand the revenue implications, the taxing rules that will be changed.”

Valero plans to expand its existing facility but denies that it will lead to more air pollution because its emission standard won’t change.

Mayor Annise Parker voted yes on the proposal.

“What limited environmental controls we have from a regulatory standpoint we can still apply in our ETJ (extra-territorial jurisdiction), if they’re not in the city limits of Houston,” she said.

Parker said because of a cap on property taxes the city can use, the financial impact of the refinery being outside city limits will be neutral.

An analysis by the Houston Chronicle says the city could lose millions.


City of Houston’s Map of the Valero Houston Refinery



Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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