Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Six Texas oil refineries spewing pollutants above federal threshold

Six Texas oil refineries spewing pollutants above federal threshold

Eight years ago, two environmental nonprofits sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency was a decade overdue in updating limits on how much hazardous air pollution the country's oil refineries could emit; the groups hoped a lawsuit would force it to act. The result was a regulation that required more than 100 refineries to monitor — and report — levels of cancer-causing benzene along the perimeters of their facilities and to make fixes when concentrations exceed a certain threshold. On Thursday, the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project — one of the two nonprofits that sued the EPA in 2012 — released an analysis of the publicly available monitoring data refineries began sending to the EPA in January 2018. It found that 10 of them had reported benzene levels above the established threshold over a one-year period that ended in September. Six of those refineries are in Texas, including three in the Houston metro area. The Texas refinery that reported the highest concentrations of the hazardous pollutant at its fence line was Total Port Arthur Refinery in Port Arthur, with levels 148% greater than limit, according to the report. “These results highlight refineries that need to do a better job of installing pollution controls and implementing safer workplace practices to reduce the leakage of this cancer-causing pollutant into local communities,” Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said in a statement. “EPA in 2015 imposed regulations to better monitor benzene and protect people living near refineries, often in working-class neighborhoods. Now, EPA needs to enforce these rules.” The EPA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Environmental Integrity Project stressed that the 10 refineries are not necessarily in violation of the law. Under the rule, facilities must collect air samples at their fence lines every two weeks, and if the average of the highest concentrations of benzene exceeds 9 micrograms per cubic meter of air over a one-year period, they are required to investigate the cause and take action to reduce emissions. The other Texas refineries that reported benzene levels above the federal action limit are: • Pasadena Refining (100% above the limit) • Flint Hills Resources Corpus Christi East (79% above limit) • Valero Corpus Christi East (44% above limit) • Shell Deer Park (23% above limit) • Marathon Galveston Bay Texas City (11% above limit) In written statements, all the companies said they have worked hard to reduce emissions of benzene and other hazardous air pollutants. Some stressed ...

PLEASE LOG IN FOR PREMIUM CONTENT. Our website requires visitors to log in to view the best local news. Not yet a subscriber? Subscribe today!

Advance Publishing Company

217 W. Park Avenue
Pharr, TX 78577