May 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm #2663
Refinery Contamination Controversy
By Melissa Schroeder
Updated: May 20, 2010 6:56 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI — Local environmental activist Suzie Canales claims ground water contamination is spreading from the local refineries.
She’s basing her claims on a recent report by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But, TCEQ officials say she’s misinterpreting their information.
Tim Smith has lived near refinery row for 45 years.
He claims contamination from the refineries kills his plants and trees and even caused him to have health problems.
He said, “30 years I wasn’t aware I’m just inhaling and inhaling thinking I’m doing something good and all the time I’m dying.”
Environmentalist Suzie Canales says she’s putting up a fight for people like Tim Smith.
She claims oil spills and leaks are out of control, contaminating groundwater, even spreading to people’s homes making them sick.
She said, “It’s like a house could be a gas chamber because these vapors are trapped in there.”
A 2006 map from TCEQ shows the amount of contamination surrounding Corpus Christi refineries is very low. But, in an updated 2009 map darker colors represent a much higher level of groundwater contamination.
Canales claims it’s also spreading closer and closer to Refinery Row’s neighbors. She said, “We’re just fed up with the fact that people, companies, entities keep issues on contamination secret and do not tell the people who have the right to know.”
[color=#0000ff size=3]The TCEQ has a different side to the story though.
[color=#0000ff size=3]The Director of the Remediation Division, Brent Wade, says the higher levels are a good thing. [color=#0000ff size=3]He says recovery wells surrounding refineries are capturing contaminates which makes this pollution look worse than it is. [color=#0000ff size=3]He said, “It’s not migrating into neighborhoods. It’s being pulled back so it can be contained and removed.”
Canales says she doesn’t buy that excuse and will continue to be a voice for the people near Refinery Row. She also told 6 News she plans on working with the EPA to come up with a plan to hold refineries accountable and look into possible criminal charges for having higher levels of contaminates than is allowed by law.
Citgo, Flint Hills and Valero Refining were all mentioned in that TCEQ report.
[color=#0000ff size=3]We contacted them for a response. All three told us they hadn’t seen the report, so they couldn’t comment on it at this time. However, a Valero representative told us that they monitor their property weekly to make sure there’s no risk of contaminates spreading into nearby neighborhoods.
May 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm #5608
Another example of Liberal Environmentalist cherry picking a report to fit their own agenda despite TECQ officials real conclusions & explainations.
Several versions of this article did not include the TECQ views & conclusions thereby promoting the Environmentalist warped viewpoint – so beware of what you read.
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