For immediate release
March 22, 2023
CONTACT: Riikka Pohjankoski, 713-589-7079, [email protected]
Statement from Jennifer Hadayia, Executive Director, Air Alliance Houston
HOUSTON – March 22, 2022. An explosion and fire occurred earlier today at the INEOS Phenol chemicals plant in Pasadena, Texas, just outside of Houston. At least one person was injured and sent to the hospital and an entire community held its breath.
“How many explosions and tragedies do we need before state environmental regulators put the health and safety of people over industry profits?
“Our partners asked the same question, calling for greater accountability of ‘high priority’ air pollution emissions violators like INEOS Phenol.
“As we watched and waited for news for our community amidst multiple and conflicting reports of the location and source of the blaze, we also ask, how many such incidents are needed before a reliable real-time notification system for chemical emergencies is finally put into place, a ‘must-have’ for communities inundated with industrial hazards. Even the CAER online system, which is highly touted as a ‘real-time’ notification system, posted multiple and conflicting reports about the fire.
“While we are thankful for the efforts of first responders and others that contained and ultimately extinguished the fire, it is yet another unwelcome ‘close call’ for our community and caused disruption and fear for hours. Almost 7,000 residents live within just 2 miles of INEOS Phenol, well within an impact zone.
“This event should be a wake-up call to our state legislators who are, tomorrow, reviewing a bill that could strengthen the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to be more than a ‘reluctant regulator’ and instead hold industry to the highest standards of disaster prevention.”
Air Alliance Houston is a non-profit advocacy organization working to reduce the public health impacts from air pollution and advance environmental justice through applied research, education, and advocacy. For more information and resources, please visit www.airalliancehouston.org.