Energy & Environment

Coastal Residents Sue Plastics Plant on Water Pollution Claim

Posted on · State regulators have linked the plant to plastic pellets in nearby waters and are currently considering an enforcement action. But residents are suing in federal court, hoping for what would be, if they win, an unusually large fine.

Houston Matters

Report Underscores Disparity in Chemical Exposure and Health Risks in Houston Communities

Posted on · The Union of Concerned Scientists and TEJAS – Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services – published a report today (Oct. 27, 2016) which outlines the disproportionate risk some communities in Greater Houston face from chemical exposure as a result of both everyday air pollution and occasional industrial accidents. Of course, there’s nothing particularly new about that. […]

Houston Matters

A Closer Look at How and Where Hazardous Chemicals Are Stored In Greater Houston

Posted on · Back in May (May 19, 2016), we spoke with Houston Chronicle reporters Matt Dempsey and Mark Collette about the first installment in an extensive series called Chemical Breakdown, looking at chemical facilities in the Houston region. In the initial piece, Dempsey and Collette looked at chemical inventories for 2,500 businesses in the Houston area and, working with […]

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Shell Leaving Downtown, and Jones Hall Turns 50: Monday’s Show (October 3, 2016)

Posted on · Recently (Sept. 20, 2016), Shell Oil announced plans to vacate most of its downtown offices. Thousands of employees are expected to move to the company’s Woodcreek Complex on I-10 and North Dairy Ashford and to the Shell Technology Center on State Highway 6. The move is planned for the first quarter of 2017. On this […]

Houston Matters

What Dangers Does the Chemical Industry Pose to Houston?

Posted on · A 2014 gas leak at a DuPont chemical plant in La Porte killed four workers. In response to that accident, the Houston Chronicle obtained chemical inventories of more than 2,500 businesses in Greater Houston to learn which pose the greatest risk to the public. We talk with reporters Matt Dempsey and Mark Collette about what […]

Houston Matters

Largely Invisible Tank Cleaning Industry Awash in Risk

Posted on · Rail cars, tanks and barges are routinely used to ship chemicals. These chemicals are key to the manufacture of all manner of everyday materials, from plastics to paint. Eventually, these cars, tankers and barges have to be cleaned, a procedure that is largely unregulated and raises health and safety concerns. As the Houston Chronicle reported Sunday, […]

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Tank Cleaning Hazards, Real Estate, and Sports Monday: Houston Matters for Monday, May 12, 2014

Posted on · Rail cars, tanks and barges are routinely used to ship chemicals. These chemicals are key to the manufacture of all manner of everyday materials, from plastics to paint. Eventually, these cars, tankers and barges have to be cleaned, a procedure that is largely unregulated and raises health and safety concerns. As the Houston Chronicle reported […]

Houston Matters

Is Pumping Acid Into the Ground for Fracking Safe?

Posted on · Companies that drill for oil use combinations of chemicals in the hydraulic fracturing process to free oil trapped in rock formations called shale. You probably know that drillers pump thousands of gallons of water mixed with such chemicals down into their wells. You may be aware there are rules about reporting what those chemicals are. […]