Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: March 27, 2019

Harris County sues ITC over Deer Park fire

(Zach Despart – Houston Chronicle, Updated 03/26/2019. Photo by Scott Dalton)

“Harris County has sued Intercontinental Terminals Co. for failing to prevent a massive chemical fire that burned for more than 60 hours last week and spewed an unknown volume of hazardous chemicals into the air and nearby waterways. The county is seeking a temporary injunction and restraining order against the company, alleging that it violated the Texas Clean Air Act and the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act, among other rules.” houstonchronicle.com

Remember Harvey? Houston remains unprepared for the next big flood. [Editorial]

(The Editorial Board – Houston Chronicle, 03/23/2019. Photo by Melissa Phillip)

“Imagine a 25-foot tall toxic wave of seawater and carcinogens. When that happens, the flotsam in Buffalo Bayou won’t be a celebratory procession. It’ll be chemical tanks and long-haul trucks, homes and corpses. Our city’s hopes for the 21st century will be washed away.” houstonchronicle.com

A childhood in Deer Park, brought to you by petrochemicals [Opinion]

(Sara Cress – Houston Chronicle, 03/20/2019. Photo by Melissa Phillip)

“I came to understand this area as a place I couldn’t trust. Small explosions and leaks became rote for us. I could see the flares burning nearby at night, brighter on holidays. It was our Southern Lights — a gray sky flashing with streaks of orange. Many believed the plants flared more toxic materials on holidays because regulators weren’t paying attention then.” houstonchronicle.com


  • 26 March
    • Deer Park fire a ‘blemish’ for the petrochemical industry’s image (Marissa Luck – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Grieder: Republican leaders change their tune on the Texas Clean Air Act after Deer Park fire (Erica Grieder – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Road damage, crashes have cities looking to commercial truck enforcement (Dug Begley – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Climate change denial is evil, says Mary Robinson (Damian Carrington – The Guardian) theguardian.com
  • 25 March
    • Report: Texas Fails To ‘Get The Lead Out’ Of Drinking Water In Schools (Bonnie Petrie – KERA News) keranews.org
    • Deer Park fire underscores why good companies plan for disasters (Jordan Blum – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Houston Ship Channel closure could cost energy industry $1 billion (Andrea Leinfelder and Jordan Blum – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Environmental, Economic Damage a Concern Now That Houston-Area Fire Out (NBC DFW) nbcdfw.com
    • Inside Exxon’s scrappy fight over air pollution (Sean Reilly – E&E News) eenews.net
    • ‘Coal is on the way out’: study finds fossil fuel now pricier than solar or wind (Oliver Milman – The Guardian) theguardian.com
  • 24 March
    • One week later: ‘Significant progress’ made in clean-up effort at Deer Park plant (Samantha Ketterer – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
  • 23 March
    • Elevated benzene levels detected in water near ITC facility (Nick Natario – KTRK-TV/ABC13 News Houston) abc13.com
    • Botanic Garden, coming in 2020, will celebrate Houston’s biodiversity (Molly Glentzer – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
  • 22 March
    • Texas sues company behind Deer Park terminal fire (Kiah Collier – The Texas Tribune) texastribune.org
    • Proposed bullet train could offer quick trip to Houston by 2025 (Olivia Lueckemeyer – Community Impact Newspaper) communityimpact.com
  • 21 March
    • The Houston Petrochemical Fire Released an Astounding Amount of Pollutants in One Day (Naveena Sadasivam – Mother Jones) motherjones.com
    • Study: More than 475,000 Harris County residents live in units at risk of flooding (Sarah Smith – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Want climate progress? Look to the oil and gas industry [Opinion] (Samantha Gross – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • LyondellBasell, Dow chiefs call on industry to fix plastic waste problem (Marissa Luck – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Climate change could make insurance too expensive for most people – report (Arthur Neslen – The Guardian) theguardian.com
  • 20 March
    • US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling (Cassidy Randall – The Guardian) theguardian.com
    • Black smoke over Houston is part of the deal (Chris Tomlinson – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • One of America’s biggest oil companies wants to be ‘carbon neutral’ — eventually (Matt Egan – CNN Business) cnn.com
    • Pesticide residues found in 70% of produce sold in US even after washing (Emily Holden – The Guardian) theguardian.com
  • 19 March
    • Deer Park fire reignites crisis of confidence in TCEQ [Opinion] (Elena Craft – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Environment America and U.S. PIRG Experts Testify on Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (Kara Cook-Schultz – United States Public Interest Research Group) uspirg.com
    • Dallas launches climate action website (Katie Pyzyk – Smart Cities Dive) smartcitiesdive.com
  • 18 March
    • As petroleum exports grow, so do risks (Jordan Blum – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Tourists are flocking to locations threatened by climate change. That only makes things worse. (Aditi Shrikant – Vox Media) vox.com
  • 16 March
    • Texas LNG moves closer to approval (Mark Reagan – The Monitor) themonitor.com
  • 15 March
    • Turner warns Houston must diversify beyond energy (James Osborne – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
  • 14 March
    • How ‘Robocop 2’ helped save Houston (Michael Bergeron – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • EPA broke faith with the victims of Hurricane Harvey (Justin Pidot – The Hill) thehill.com
  • 8 March
    • IMO 2020 will cause upheaval for shippers and refiners (Chris Midgley – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
  • 6 March
    • Popular Anthills Biking Trails to Be Destroyed in the Name of Flood Mitigation (Jeff Balke – Houston Press) houstonpress.com
  • 4 March
    • Texans don’t see eye-to-eye on climate, health care or taxes, UT/TT Poll finds (Ross Ramsey – The Texas Tribune) texastribune.org