For immediate release
July 19, 2022
Contact: Riikka Pohjankoski, [email protected], 713.589.7079
EPA Objects to ITC’s Federal Permit Application in Pasadena
The same company responsible for the large-scale chemical fire in Deer Park in 2019
Houston, TX – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 has formally objected to the issuance of a Federal Operating Renewal Permit for Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) in Pasadena, Texas due to the applicant’s failure to provide adequate air monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting, and testing to ensure compliance with air pollution limits.
This comes after and in direct opposition to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)’s recommendation to approve the permit despite these concerns. The EPA’s response directly calls out TCEQ for its failure to take these concerns into consideration and directs TCEQ to revise the permit within 90 days from the notice.
The ITC facility in Deer Park was the site of a large-scale disaster in 2019 that billowed smoke and hazardous air pollutants across Harris County for 5 days. Though the permit in question here is not for the Deer Park facility, local experts and community members have raised repeated concerns about the safety of Pasadena ITC as well, since they are owned and operated by the same company.
In response to the permit objection, the following individuals and organizations have issued these statements:
“The EPA has once again stepped in where TCEQ will not – by responding to the concerns raised by community members about the lack of adequate pollution control by local industry. The EPA’s objection to the ITC Pasadena permit is a ‘win’ for impacted residents and a message to TCEQ to give true and meaningful consideration to community concerns when deciding on air permits in the future.”
– Jennifer Hadayia, Executive Director, Air Alliance Houston
“The Sunset Review report calls the TCEQ ‘reluctant regulators,’ and ITC’s permit is a perfect example of this. The Pasadena Terminal is a major source of air pollution in an area where air quality fails to meet health and welfare-based standards and should be subject to the Clean Air Act’s most stringent pollution control requirements. The TCEQ knowingly allowed ITC to circumvent these requirements and left it to the facility to set its own compliance limits.”
– Gabriel Clark-Leach, Senior Attorney, Environmental Integrity Project
“When it comes to our water and our community’s health, enforcement of environmental rules matters. For far too long, government regulators have not done enough to stop repetitive sources of pollution to our water and air, potentially missing opportunities to avoid disasters like the ITC 2019 fire. By objecting to the ITC’s air permit renewal, EPA Region 6 shows this is no longer acceptable – and begins the important work of raising the bar on basic environmental oversight in our region.”
– Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud, Executive Director, Bayou City Waterkeeper
“We watched that plume of smoke from the ITC facility fire in Deer Park, and it sickened the community for days. We’ve always been worried about the same thing happening here in Pasadena – combined with the everyday pollution that ITC puts into our air. I’m glad the EPA has rejected this permit. We need to hold these facilities more accountable.”
– Patricia Gonzales, Pasadena Resident
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.