Policy and Legal Efforts

Policy and Legal Efforts

Healthy Communities

The Houston area’s high concentration of industry combined with the historical practice of building toxic facilities in floodplains and near residential areas highlight the need for robust environmental rules. Facilities in Texas operate in a lax regulatory and enforcement environment, putting community health and safety at risk. This situation is worsened by state and federal policymakers that cater to corporate special interests by engaging in coordinated efforts to encourage fossil fuel expansion and permit minimal accountability for polluters. 

What we’re doing

We serve as a check on local industries, monitoring state and federal environmental agencies’ actions especially when those actions further environmental injustices. By working in partnership with communities, we advocate for the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, policies and regulations to decrease air pollution from toxic facilities and prevent new ones from being placed near people. 

Here are some of our priority community health concerns:

BACKYARD POLLUTERS

The absence of zoning laws in Houston and lack of state regulation means concrete batch plants, landfills, metal recyclers and more can open almost anywhere in the city. The over-concentration of these types of facilities in Houston’s communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods negatively affects the health and disrupts the peace of residents. They can emit harmful air pollutants that can contribute to respiratory issues, create significant noise pollution and generate truck traffic on residential streets. It’s time for this to change.

ETHYLENE OXIDE (EtO)

Texas accounts for nearly half of the entire country’s EtO output, with at least 27 facilities emitting more than 48 tons of the health-harming chemical every year. Twelve facilities are located right on the Ship Channel, including in Pasadena, La Porte, and Channelview. These facilities inflict a disproportionate burden on communities of color and with lower income. Breathing air contaminated with this chemical can increase your risk of breast cancer and various lymphoid cancers. In their most recent published study from 2016, the EPA concluded that EtO is, in fact, 30 times more carcinogenic than they had previously thought.

UN-CHECKED FOSSIL FUEL PRODUCTION

There has been a pattern of inaction across state and federal agencies meant to protect communities from health-harming pollution by major fossil fuel companies, such as petrochemical plants and refineries, storage and export terminals, and other oil and gas infrastructure. Facilities that violate air pollution laws have been rubber-stamped by these agencies and face little to no repercussions for illegally polluting environments. An investigation by the Environmental Integrity Project found that the TCEQ issued penalties for less than 3 percent of unauthorized air pollution releases from 2011 to 2016. These failures make already vulnerable communities more at risk for health-harming pollution and chemical incidents.

Learn more

AAH’s (Leticia Gutierrez) public comments at the TCEQ Sunset Review public hearing, June 22, 2022

AAH’s (Jennifer Hadayia) public comments at the TCEQ Sunset Review public hearing, June 22, 2022

AAH Public Comments to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) – PRSI 20246, 56389, AND 80804, 5.27.22

AAH Sunset Review Comments sent to EPA 2.14.22

Why is the Avant Garde Concrete Batch Plant a Problem? // ¿Por qué es un problema una planta dosificadora de concreto en East Aldine?

AAH Comments to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Public Participation and Language Access Plan, 3.17.22

Oral Comments to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on Language Access, Leticia Gutierrez, 3.3.22

AAH Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Ethylene Oxide Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing Risk rulemaking – Corey Williams, 2.22.22

AAH Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Ethylene Oxide Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing Risk rulemaking – Jennifer Hadayia, 2.22.22

AAH Comments to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – Avant Garde Construction Co, 2.14, 2022

AAH Comments to Harris County Commissioner’s Court, 2.8.22

AAH Comments to Harris County Commissioner’s Court, 2.1.22

AAH Comments on The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – Sunset Review

AAH, partners submit comments on Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC’s Proposed Renewal of Federal Operating Permit O3785

AAH’s public comments re: Three Permit Applications Submitted by the TPC Group LLC to Authorize the Butadiene Expansion Project at TPC’s Houston Plant (Permit Nos. 22052, 46307, and 46426)

AAH signs on to a letter to the Chemical Safety Board, calling for reforms, July 8, 2021

AAH’s testimony (Bakeyah Nelson, Ph.D.) at EPA’s Public Listening Session on Chemical Disaster Prevention, July 8, 2021

AAH’s supporting testimony on HB 1820 to the Environmental Regulation Committee during the 87th Texas Legislative Session, Apr. 12, 2021 (live recording)

AAH’s supporting testimony on HB 2974 to the Environmental Regulation Committee during the 87th Texas Legislative Session, Apr. 26, 2021 (written) | Watch the live recording

AAH’s supporting testimony on HB 3477 to the Environmental Regulation Committee during the 87th Texas Legislative Session, Apr. 26, 2021 (live recording)

Air Alliance Houston’s public comments re: INTERCONTINENTAL TERMINALS COMPANY LLC, Air Quality Permit Number 95754, Jan. 12, 2021

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