This week, Environment Texas and dozens of public health, environmental justice and clean air advocates from across the country sent a letter to EPA asking that they keep the pressure on major air polluters that illegally release hazardous chemicals into our communities.
Recently, the EPA made a major revision to their enforcement policy that determines which violations get the most attention from EPA and state enforcement programs. Unfortunately, this revision means that illegal emissions of hazardous chemicals and other pollutants will no longer be considered a “high priority” unless the violations persist for at least seven days.
Here in Texas, we know from experience that major pollution events don’t need 7 hours, let alone 7 days, to trigger some major health impacts for our communities. For example, on August 9, Shell Oil Deer Park released more than 300,000 pounds of 1,3-butadiene, an incredibly toxic carcinogen, when relief valves opened on a tank in their Houston petrochemical plant. This emission event lasted just 55 minutes.
You can see the full letter HERE.