Industrial Emissions Regulation and Enforcement
97% of company-reported illegal emissions go unpenalized by the TCEQ.
What We're Doing
Strong accountability of polluters begins with strong air quality standards and their enforcement. We routinely respond in writing, with testimony, and in our calls to action to proposed air quality-related permits, regulations, rules for implementation, enforcement patterns, and determinations of adherence that are developed by both the local Texas regulator (TCEQ) and the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Strong enforcement of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) is always a high priority.
Here are some of our priority community health concerns:
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 this known carcinogen 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 fenceline communities. Breathing air contaminated with EtO 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.
TOXIC EMISSIONS FROM FOSSIL FUEL FACILITIES
There has been a pattern of inaction across state and federal agencies meant to protect communities from pollution from petrochemical plants and refineries, storage and export terminals, and other oil and gas infrastructure. New permits for facilities that violate air pollution laws are frequently rubber-stamped and companies 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.
Read about our air permit notification system and check out our air permit notification map.
Comments on Docket Number EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0072 for the Proposed Rule: Reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter — March 28, 2023
Public Comments Concerning the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Quadrennial Review of its Chapter 106 Permit by Rule Regulations, Non-Rule Project Number 2023-024-106-AI
RE: Lyondell Chemical Company Air Quality Permit Number 83817 at 2502 Sheldon Road, Channelview, Harris County, Texas 77530
RE: Comments on Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC’s Renewal of Federal Operating Permit O1061 – September, 23
RE: Celanese Ltd. Federal Operating Permit No. O1986, Application No. 33188 at 9502 Bayport Blvd, Pasadena, TX 77507-1402 – September 2, 2022
RE: Air Quality Standard Permit for Concrete Batch Plants Proposed Registration No. 157195 for Rocket Materials LLC at 914 Pinafore Lane, Houston, Harris County, Texas – July 29, 2022
RE: Comments in Response to Notice of a Renewal of Federal Operating Permit No. O106, Application No. 32790 – July 20, 2022
RE: Comments on Lyondell Chemical Company Air Quality Permit Number 83817 at 2502 Sheldon Road, Channelview, Harris County, Texas 77530 – July 6, 2022
Re: Comments on The Sunset Commission Staff Report on The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) – June 27, 2022
Comments by Community Advocacy Organizations on the Sunset Staff Report on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
RE: Comments on Pasadena Refining System, Inc. Air Quality Permit Numbers 20246, 56389, and 80804 at 111 Red Bluff Road, Pasadena, Harris County, Texas 77506, May 27, 2022
RE: Comments Valero Refining-Texas Air Quality Permit Number 2501A, at 9701 Manchester St Houston, Harris County, Texas 77012 – April 28, 2022
RE: Comments on the TCEQ Public Participation and Language Access Plan – March 17, 2022
RE: Comments Air Quality Standard Permit for Concrete Batch Plants Proposed Registration No. 167453 for Avant Garde Construction Co at 10945 Eastex Freeway , Houston, Harris County Texas, 77093 – February 14, 2022
RE: Comments on The TCEQ Sunset Review – January 3, 2022
RE: Comments on Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC’s Proposed Renewal of Federal Operating Permit O3785 – December 9, 2021
RE: Comments on 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) – August 10, 2021
AAH signs on to a letter to the Chemical Safety Board, calling for reforms – July 8, 2021
AAH’s supporting testimony on HB 1820 to the Environmental Regulation Committee during the 87th Texas Legislative Session – April 12, 2021 (live recording)
AAH’s supporting testimony on HB 2974 to the Environmental Regulation Committee during the 87th Texas Legislative Session – April 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 – April 26, 2021 (live recording)
RE: INTERCONTINENTAL TERMINALS COMPANY LLC, Air Quality Permit Number 95754 – January 12, 2021Re: