Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: September 6, 2019

TCEQ’s dangerous trade off: jobs over clean air

(Houston Chronicle, Editorial Board, Updated 09/06/19. Photo by Dow Chemical.)

“Look at the agency’s decision to grant permits,over community objections, for a $10 billion ethane cracker plant just north of Corpus Christi. Levin said the nearby communities only asked for “modest improvements” to the permits, including additional air monitoring equipment inside the plant, but their request was denied. Not only is the commission doing a bad job enforcing environmental rules, it is making rules that are bad. Among them a proposed regulation that will expose Texans to higher levels of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing flammable gas used to sterilize medical equipment and make plastic packaging.”


Metro supporters have nine weeks to sell bond plan to voters

(Houston Chronicle, Dug Begley, Updated 09/03/19. Photo by Steve Gonzales.)

“Transit officials spent the past 18 months developing a plan to add $7.5 billion in new bus lines, rebuilt transit centers and rail expansion. They have nine weeks to sell it to voters. Officials are asking for voter approval to borrow $3.5 billion, paid back by future sales tax revenues from Metro’s 1 percent sales tax. Metro, based on its 2020 budget, will spend $6.7 million to educate voters on the long-range plan, another $1.8 million for public engagement and $800,000 on legal expenses related to the plan.”


Report: Plastics industry driving pollution

(Houston Chronicle, Perla Trevizo and Erin Douglas, Updated 09/05/19. Photo by Jon Shapley.)

“The Environmental Integrity Project identified 90 plants that either make plastics or their ingredients in the Houston and Port Arthur area and, using state data, found that in 2017 the plants emitted 55,704 tons of potentially health-damaging air pollutants. More than $140 billion in new petrochemical capacity has been planned or added in the Gulf Coast region since 2010, according to the American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group. The Baytown facility has violated the Clean Air Act for the last three years, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. The TCEQ declined to comment in advance of the public release of the EIP report.”


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Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: July 30, 2019

Houston unveils first draft of city climate action plan

(Houston, Chronicle, Perla Trevizo, Updated 07/25/19. Photo by Brett Coomer.)

“Houston has one of the largest per capita greenhouse emissions in the country…

Reducing the city’s emissions will not only help fight climate change, Turner said, it will lead to more resilient communities, reduce harmful pollution, cut energy waste and boost the local economy.”


Harris County faces long list of gaps identified after recent chemical fires

(Perla Trevizo and Dug Begley, Updated 07/29/19. Photo by Karen Warren.)

“More monitoring and manpower is needed for Harris County to better respond to chemical fires like the three that struck the region earlier this year, worrying residents and shutting the Houston Ship Channel, according to a study evaluating the county’s response to the fires.”


Houston’s Highway Mega-Plan: An Environmental Justice Disaster

(Streets Blog USA, Angie Schmitt, Updated 07/25/19. Photo provided by Google Maps.)

“Mass displacement, worsening air quality, wider segregation and more flooding are some of the outcomes experts are warning will result from the 25-mile widening known as the North Houston Highway Improvement Plan, which would enlarge Interstate 45 and adjacent highways, including I-69, over a 25-mile stretch.”


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Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: July 23, 2019

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Could Bring Texas Millions For At-Risk Species

(Michael Marks, Texas Standard, Updated 07/18/19. Photo by Margo Wright.)

“State and tribal lands in the U.S. could soon receive $1.4 billion annually to support the conservation of wildlife, with Texas’s share being more than $50 million…

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would direct federal funds toward the conservation and monitoring of at-risk species nationwide.”


2.6M pounds of Houston recyclables tossed in landfill

(KHOU 11, (Jeremy Rogalski, Updated 07/16/19. Photo by KHOU.)

“The City of Houston broke its own recycling rules more than 300 times this year and sent at least 2.6 million pounds of curbside recyclables to the landfill, according to a KHOU 11 analysis of city records.

The findings have one Houston city council member calling for the ouster of longtime Solid Waste Management Department Director Harry Hayes.”


As AG takes aim at Port Arthur refinery, environmentalists to drop lawsuit attempt

(Houston Chronicle, Marissa Luck, Updated 07/23/19. Photo by Jon Shapley.)

“A trio of environmental groups will drop their case against Valero Energy’s Port Arthur refinery as the Texas Attorney General’s office instead takes the lead on suing the refiner for an alleged pattern of air emissions…

The AG’s Office said the Port Arthur refinery was “plagued with continuing problems associated with operator errors and equipment malfunctions” that led to a pattern of air pollution.”


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