Last Thursday, community members and advocates spoke out against TPC Group’s plans to expand polluting operations in Houston’s East End.
The TPC’s Houston facility is located at 8600 Park Place, 77017 near Sims Bayou Greenway, Milby Park and two HISD schools. If approved, the three new proposed air permits would authorize the plant to emit significantly more cancer-causing butadiene into the air.
Speakers highlighted TPC’s spotty environmental record and the human cost of allowing this expansion to happen in an area already exposed to multiple hazards with cumulative health impacts. The corporation is known to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a “High Priority Violator” of pollution limits and has a history of industrial fires and illegal chemical releases, including a massive explosion and fire that forced 50,000 people to evacuate their homes in Port Neches in 2019.
Air Alliance Houston and allies submitted comments to the TCEQ opposing the corporation’s expansion given the Group’s ongoing violations of federal environmental protections and erroneous representations of past and potential emissions in its applications. The TCEQ should protect the health and safety of the working-class communities of color living in close quarters to the plant that are already overburdened with toxic air pollutants.
EXTENDED DEADLINE TO FILE A CONTESTED CASE HEARING REQUEST: A contested case hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings is the best opportunity we have to improve or block authorization for the proposed expansion project. Requests can be filed until the TCEQ addresses the comments from the public meeting, which is likely to take several weeks. This is a trial-like proceeding where complainants will argue with Texas and TPC over the details of the application. Anyone who lives or works near the plant is entitled to request a hearing, i.e. anyone who has a concrete stake in the outcome of the case. Will you be that person?
How to file a contested hearing request?
A contested case hearing request can be submitted at www14.tceq.texas.gov/epic/eComment/, or in writing to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087.
When submitting your request, be sure to enter one of the following permit numbers: 22052, 46307, or 46426 on TCEQ’s e-Comment website and provide the following information:
(1) your name (or for a group or association, an official representative), mailing address, daytime phone number;
(2) the applicant’s name and permit numbers (TPC Group’s Houston Plant; permit #s 22052, 46307, and 46426);
(3) the statement “I/we request a contested case hearing;”
(4) a specific description of how you would be adversely affected by the application and air emissions from the facility in a way not common to the general public; (5) the location and approximate distance of your property relative to the facility;
(6) a description of how you use the property which may be impacted by the facility; and
(7) a list of all disputed issues of fact that you submit during the comment period.
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Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions at [email protected].