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Posts tagged as “pollution”

LyondellBasell Agrees to Reduce Harmful Air Pollution

LyondellBasell Plant in Channelview, with the San Jacinto River and Highlands in the distance.

Channelview plant cited for excessive flaring
HARRIS COUNTY – Three U.S. subsidiaries of Dutch chemical giant LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (Lyondell) have agreed to make upgrades and perform compliance measures estimated to cost $50 million to resolve allegations they violated the Clean Air Act and state air pollution control laws at six petrochemical manufacturing facilities located in Channelview, Corpus Christi, and LaPorte, Texas, and Clinton, Iowa. Lyondell will also pay a $3.4 million civil penalty. The settlement, announced today by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will eliminate thousands of tons of air pollution from flares.

According to the complaint, the companies failed to properly operate and monitor their industrial flares, which resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollution at five facilities in Texas and one in Iowa. Lyondell’s subsidiaries regularly “oversteamed” the flares at their facilities and failed to comply with other key operating constraints to ensure the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants contained in the gases routed to the flares are effectively combusted.

The EPA identified potential environmental justice concerns at the two Channelview facilities for exposure to particulate matter (2.5 micron), ozone, toxic cancer risk, and respiratory hazard. The significant emissions reductions of VOCs, HAPs, and greenhouse gases that today’s settlement secures at the Channelview facilities serve to reduce exposure in the community to some of the same air pollutants that they are disproportionately exposed to.

“The Justice Department and EPA will continue to enforce the law against petrochemical plants that violate the Clean Air Act,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “In particular, we are committed to reducing harmful air pollution from unnecessary and improper flaring, especially near overburdened communities with environmental justice concerns.”

Laura shows pollution mounts in Gulf Coast

The security of petrochemical plants during hurricanes comes into question even as some predict more powerful and frequent storms.

Hurricanes Laura and Harvey set records for fastest and strongest intensification for the Gulf Coast from 35 miles per hour to 150 miles per hour winds, also both initiated significant releases of pollutants.

Laura’s are estimated at about 4 million pounds and Hurricane Harvey had over twice that amount. Many will remember 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused French-owned Arkema plant in Crosby, to lose power, igniting a fire and produce a large pillar of acrid, black smoke; residents within a 1.5 mile radius were evacuated.

This time most of Texas was spared although Beaumont and Port Arthur plants had to prepare for and shut down before the storms. Louisiana was hit by intensive winds, flooding, and a chemical fire was recorded in Westlake.

Oil pollutes Crosby waterways

A Harris County contractor is working diligently to remediate the area before any storm spreads the oily substance further. Since last week remediation teams have removed over 20 thousand gallons of contaminated oil/water mix from those ditches. Laboratory analysis is still underway to determine what exactly the substance is, in process to figuring out how it got there and who is responsible.

CROSBY — Remediation continues in the 1000 block of Church St. where an oil like substance was found layered into the ground and overflowing into the ditches late last week.

A specially funded Environmental Enforcement unit from Harris County Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen’s Office was called out to answer a resident’s complaint of a black oily substance in the ditches along Church Street on May 28. This discharge appeared to be coming off a property on Church Street. It stretched at least one-quarter mile west along Church Street and 655 feet to the south along the San Jacinto River Authority’s clean water basin.

Precinct One Investigators, working with Harris County Pollution Control and the San Jacinto River Authority, spent the day using an excavator to search for that source. They believe the perpetrator buried barrels or containers of oil on the property repeatedly over an extended period of time, possibly years. Investigators characterize the size and volume of the contamination as one of the largest and most significant they have ever worked.