For Immediate Release
New Report: Illegal Air Pollution in Texas Has Doubled Since 2015
Pollution increases coincided with reduction in EPA oversight.
WASHINGTON - Illegal air pollution from Texas industrial facilities more than doubled under the Trump administration, rising to 174 million pounds in 2019, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. The group pointed to lax EPA enforcement and environmental rollbacks as contributing to the increase.
“The EPA is cutting protection left and right, and Texans are paying the price,” said Catherine Fraser, clean air associate with Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “Every single day in 2019, an industrial facility somewhere in Texas illegally polluted our air, and that’s maddening. We need our federal and state leaders to hold polluters accountable and protect our air and our health.”
In 2019, Texas refineries, petrochemical installations and other industrial facilities reported 4,086 unauthorized releases of air pollution, including benzene, butadiene particulate matter and carbon dioxide, resulting from breakdowns, maintenance incidents and other so-called “emissions events.” Total pollution has increased 155 percent since 2015, when polluters reported releasing a total of 68 million pounds of unauthorized emissions.
Unauthorized carbon dioxide pollution, as discussed in the report, is a relatively new phenomenon as facilities start to get greenhouse gas permits. For example, the Beaumont Gas to Gasoline Plant only opened in 2018 and is responsible for the vast majority of total unauthorized carbon dioxide emissions. However, even when Beaumont Gas to Gasoline Plant is excluded, air pollution increased 50% from 2015 and 100% from 2016.
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Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. Our professional staff in 27 states and Washington, D.C., combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for the environment. Environment America draws on 30 years of success in tackling environmental problems.