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The Texas Green Wars

Update On Forced Green’s Post ‘Texas At A Green Crossroads’ – The Earth Won!

Large_Houston_LandsatGov. Rick Perry’s lawsuit to block the EPA from demanding that the state begin to comply with the clean air act, met with defeat on June 30th when the EPA announced final disapproval of the flexible permit program that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ – all Perry appointees), had submitted for inclusion in its clean-air implementation plan. EPA has determined that this program does not meet several national Clean Air Act requirements that help to assure the protection of health and the environment.

So, thank you very much to everyone who signed the on-line petition.

That battle is won, but just like during the late 1800’s Range War, this Green War is going to be furious – and it’s only just begun.

Now, another legal salvo has been fired by Texas environmentalists working to reduce harmful emissions in the region through federal lawsuits. The target this time is America’s largest refinery about 30 miles east of Houston.

baytownOn July 7, Environment Texas and the Sierra Club’s Lone Star chapter gave notice of their intent to sue Exxon Mobil Corp. under the federal Clean Air Act after a required 60-day waiting period, arguing that its Baytown complex illegally released more than 10 million pounds of toxic chemicals over the past five years.

Unplanned and unauthorized air emissions at the complex — which includes the huge refinery and two chemical plants — started once every four days on average in 2005 and once every nine days on average in 2009, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of state emissions records included in a notice letter that precedes the filing of the lawsuit. The records show that ExxonMobil’s chemical plants released nearly 1.3 million pounds of toxic substances in addition to 5.9 million pounds from its refinery, all above the facility’s permitted emissions.

Chemicals spewed into the air included benzene and 1,3-butadiene, both of which have been linked to cancer, and sulfur dioxide, which can cause breathing difficulties and burning of the lungs, nose and throat.

To give you more insight and what is needed to go toe-to-toe with this polluting Goliath, below is an email from Environment Texas to Forced Green on Wednesday:

—– Original Message —–
From: Luke Metzger, Environment Texas Director

Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 8:36 AM
Subject: We’re suing ExxonMobil – Donate to our legal effort

Last week, we caused a stir when we notified ExxonMobil that we intend to sue them for hundreds of violations of the Clean Air Act over the last five years at their Baytown oil refinery, the nation’s largest. For too long, Gov. Rick Perry’s environmental regulators have allowed these violations to continue. We’ve had enough, and we’re taking them to court to force them to stop violating the law.

We’re standing up for Texas’ air, but we can’t do it alone. Can you donate to our legal effort?

Together with our allies at the Sierra Club, our lawsuit asserts that ExxonMobil has persistently violated its Clean Air Act permits, resulting in the release of more than 10 million pounds of excess air pollutants over the past five years, including toxic chemicals such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene.

Much of the pollution could travel dozens of miles to the greater Houston metro area, affecting thousands of people. Environment Texas member Stuart Halpryn lives right next to the plant. In February 2009, a chemical stench nearly overwhelmed him as he stepped out of his house. “I couldn’t get a breath; I almost passed out,” Halpryn said, calling it a “horrendous release.” His family was sick with fevers, congestion and sleeplessness for almost a week, and a pervasive chemical odor lingered in the Halpryns’ home, in their closets and behind their pantry doors, for several days.

TCEQ records show that more than 17,000 pounds of chemicals were released into the air that day. Among the compounds was hydrogen sulfide, which irritates the eyes, nose and throat, and in high concentrations may cause loss of consciousness or even death.

We got a tremendous response to our petition to Gov. Perry to clean up our air, and we got plenty of stories from you about how pollution affects you.

ExxonMobil can’t keep getting away with breaking the law and making people sick. Last year, we were able to force Shell Oil to reduce emissions by 80 percent at their Deer Park refinery. With your help, we can get ExxonMobil to do the same.

Click the link below to donate to our legal effort:

Thanks for making our work possible.


Luke Metzger
Environment Texas Director

…… as the green future unfolds.

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2 Responses to “The Texas Green Wars”

  1. Lissof Says:

    Thanks for the followup Linda.

    I was able to catch a news report on TV. which featured your Gov. Rick Perry. The initial topic was the Gulf Oil Spill, the lives lost, families disrupted and the resulting environmental damage,,, , but your Slick Gov. Perry managed to turn the focus of the discussion from the afore mentioned tragedy, to the suffering of the Big Oil Companies under the restrictions and regulations they face as a result of this incident…

    Listening to his rant, I could only imagine how deep his hands were into the pockets of Big Oil. It was highly obvious to the most casual observer that his political agenda was bought and paid for by the very industries that are endangering the health and environment of Texas. They may as well ran a banner across the screen declaring that it was an “Informercial” sponsored by Big Oil with significant financial benefit derived by Gov. Perry.!!!

    I truly hope you are able to reach out to enough Texans that realize the monie$ derived from Big Oil today does not justify the damage done to our future generations and the environment forever and ever….

    Maybe you will get lucky and have a strong environmental backlash at coming elections.

    I wish you well….

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Lissof … I know that Houston is the 4th largest city in the States and that 85% of them are voting him out. Now if we could get the rest of the state to see his no good ways, it will make the next year much, much better.

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