AirMail - Refinery & Petrochemical Permits

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Open Refinery & Petrochemical Permit Applications

Valero Energy Partners LP

Valero Energy Partners LP, 9701 Manchester St, Houston, Texas 77012-2408, a Petroleum Refineries facility, has applied to the TCEQ for a Renewal of Federal Operating Permit (herein referred to as permit) No. O3784, Application No. 31654 to authorize operation of the Valero Partners Houston facility. The area addressed by the application is located at 9701 Manchester St in Houston, Harris County, Texas 77012-2408. 

Immediate actions and help documents:

⚠️ ACTION: Submit public comments by Dec 12, 2022

Written public comments should be submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087, or electronically at https://www14.tceq.texas.gov/epic/eComment/

Resources:

⚠️ ACTION: Attend a Notice and Comment Hearing on Dec 12, 2022

Location: Hartman Community Center, 9311 E Avenue P Houston, Texas 77012
Time: 7 PM

Resources:

  • Fact Sheet for Community
  • Hoja Informativa para la comunidad 

  • Lone Star Legal Aid and Earth Justice will be hosting a virtual preparation session for the community to explain the permit and provide additional information about the hearing on Monday, December 12, 2022. Please join us and share this information with others who would be likely to attend the TCEQ hearing on 12-12.

    Prep Session for Public Hearing/ Comments

    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8th from 7-8pm

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84763887381

    Meeting ID: 847 6388 7381
    One tap mobile
    +13462487799,,84763887381# US (Houston)
    +17193594580,,84763887381# US

⚠️ ACTION: Request a Contested Case Hearing by Dec 12, 2022

Resources:

What are Refineries and Petrochemical Plants and why are they an air quality concern?

Refineries and petrochemical plants are facilities for industrial processes related to oil and gas. 

  • Refineries transform crude oil into usable petroleum products, like fuel, diesel, kerosene, or asphalt.
  • Petrochemical plants convert petrochemical compounds into raw materials for products like plastic, lubricants, and solvents.

Refineries and petrochemical plants are major sources of hazardous emissions, including particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Many of the emissions from these facilities are potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) such as BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene). Refineries and petrochemical facilities may also emit a wide range of toxics such as ethylene oxide, 1,3 – butadiene, and chloroprene These pollutants represent chronic risks to community health that may develop over years of exposure.

In addition, sudden events like refinery explosions and fires, plant failures, or chemical and gas leaks can lead to higher concentrations of toxins and highly corrosive chemicals in the air that can result in conditions that are immediately dangerous to the safety and health of nearby residents.

Sources of emissions near refineries and petrochemical plants include:

  • Flares
  • Equipment leaks and malfunctions (fugitive emissions)
  • Refinery operations (High-temperature combustion processes in the burning of fuels)
  • Transfer of products through pipelines (raw material, intermediates, and finished products)
  • Refinery explosions and fires

The health impacts of air pollution exposure include:

  • Damaged cells in the respiratory system
  • Stress to the heart and lungs
  • Aggravated respiratory conditions, including asthma
  • COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Increased likelihood of cancer development over lifetime
  • Shortened life span

Additionally, individuals who have been consistently exposed to air pollution may be more likely to suffer severe health impacts from COVID-19.

In addition to the potential public health impact of air toxics, the industrial processes associated with refineries and petrochemical plants release carbon dioxide, a common greenhouse gas. Increased levels of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere lead to global climate change.

Water contamination is another severe environmental concern. Wastewater from industrial processes can contaminate surrounding groundwater and surface water. During catastrophic weather events such as heavy rains and floods, the runoff of toxic materials may infiltrate surrounding communities; compounding the risks associated with extreme weather. 

In the Greater Houston area, refineries and petrochemical plants disproportionately impact communities of color and with lower incomes. These facilities are frequently located in or near these communities, namely along the Houston Ship Channel. This includes residents of neighborhoods such as Galena Park and Harrisburg/Manchester.

This industrial proximity is detrimental to resident health and is known as “double jeopardy.” In other words, communities are both impacted by toxic emissions and pollutants as well as risks of exposure to chemical accidents.