October 9, 2008 at 12:26 pm #3389
TCEQ doles out fines
By BLAIR DEDRICK ORTMANN October, 8, 2008
The Total Petrochemicals refinery in Port Arthur was one of the entities included in more than $3 million in fines approved Wednesday by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
According to a press release from TCEQ, Total was fined $529,300 as a result of 21 air violations documented in routine inspections conducted in 2007.
Of that total, $211,720 will be contributed to the Texas Association of Resource Conservation and Development Areas, Inc. for a “supplemental environmental project” to help replace and retrofit older diesel school buses.
The commission allows portions of fines to benefit environmental groups.
The commission also fined South Hampton Resources, Inc., formerly known as South Hampton Refining Company, of Hardin County a total of $274,433 for 38 air and industrial and hazardous waste violations.
Of that, $137,216 will be given to the Texas Association of Resource Conservation and Development Areas Inc., for water or wastewater assistance as a supplemental environmental project.
The commission also fined the DuPont Sabine River Works in Orange County a total of $176,575 for 27 air, public water supply and water quality violations.
Of that, $88,287 will be given to Ducks Unlimited for reforestation of the Tony Houseman State Park and Wildlife Management Area. The TCEQ’s next agenda meeting is Oct. 22.
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Mayor White takes on Lyondell
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 By Miya Shay
HOUSTON (KTRK) — It’s no secret there are a lot of refineries in our area. The mayor of Houston wants to make sure we are all breathing clean air. He’s demanding that the Lyondell refinery near the Houston Ship Channel tell more about the chemicals it is releasing.
Mayor Bill White has made cleaning up Houston’s air one of his top priorities. His latest battle is against Lyondell. The company wants to renew its flexible permit for releasing chemicals into the air. The mayor wants a public hearing before that’s granted.
Inside a worn car repair shack, Benny Rodriguez pays little attention to the Lyondell refinery just across the street, though he’s very aware of possible dangers. His brother used to own this shop, but he left.
“I think he is scared to be around here,” Rodriguez
Benny is staying put. But Mayor White wants Lyondell to reduce amount of benzene — a cancer causing chemical — the refinery releases into the air. He’s asking the Texas Commission on Environmental quality to grant a public hearing before its chemical release permit is renewed.
“It’s poison, and this particular plant has been putting many, many tons, tens of tons out of this stuff every year,” Mayor White said. “So I thought it would be good to have a public hearing.”
The mayor’s efforts to open up Lyondell’s permitting process are seen as admirable for people who live in one nearby neighborhood, but they also say they’ve come to expect some health risks simply from living near the plant.
Home owner Diana Harris said, “I’m old enough now, that it doesn’t matter, what happens, happens.”
Lyondell says it’s been aggressively reducing benzene output on its own. The company says in 2007 it released 39 tons of benzene into the air, well below its current 58 ton yearly cap. In addition, the renewal permit will cap emissions at 34 tons per year.
“The permit will actually reduce benzene emissions from this facility by 43%,” explained Lyondell spokesperson David Harpole. “This is a permit that gives us the flexibility to manage a business we’re experts in.”
The fight between Lyondell and the city may end up in court, though neighbors like Rodriguez may never notice. “If we gotta die, we die anyway,” he said. There is not yet a timeline on whether the state will grant an open hearing. Mayor White says he’s open to a lawsuit if a hearing isn’t granted.
October 9, 2008 at 12:28 pm #6524
Here are couple recent news items on the Democratic Liberal Houston Mayor using his office for making personal attack’s on Lyondell & giving anti-Oil signals to the State TCEQ instead of taking care of his “day job” as Mayor. There is also article about the TCEQ handing out $3MM fines that go back to Liberal Environmental Projects which also sends another type signal that State agencies will reward them for attacks against Oil Industry.
Since this is Mayor Whites 2rd term – this should come as no surprise to us, but he has pushed his anti-industry agenda’s to the front & we all should make an effort that the Democratic groups do not get a shot for the Mayor position on the next election/3rd term. As public official he knows the huge tax revenue that comes from these industries and the security on gasoline & fuel supplies it affords Texas at a time when most other liberal anti-oil industry states have long gas station lines (since over 38 states have little to no refining capacity).
The TCEQ using fines as rewards to Liberal Environmental groups for projects that obviously do not make their own budget list or those of state, is huge waste for revenue that should be going to support projects that help correct the emissions problems, or a fund to purchase houses around industrial sites that should never have become housing areas in the first place.
Somehow the Federal, State & local agencies have decided that they are partners with liberal anti-industry activist groups instead of partners with the companies and industry that they are paid to oversee and help. We need to start getting workers & conservatives showing up at some of their meetings to change this attitude & also work on showing the door to the local politicians that foster their current viewpoint. Then next TCEQ agenda meeting is Oct 22 – why not go & interject some reality into their understanding of what Texans feel about their approaches?
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