Media contact: Cassandra Casados-Klein, 713.623.1457, [email protected]
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HOUSTON – Earlier this week, the TCEQ announced it would cease its air monitoring of the aftermath of the Shell Chemical Fire and leave future air monitoring to the facility itself. This announcement comes at a time when community members are still in the dark about what was emitted by the fire and at what levels. No reports from TCEQ’s air monitoring or the facility’s emissions database have been posted since the weekend.
Local scientists have also raised concerns over the kind of air monitoring TCEQ conducted and the standards used to officially declare no danger to the community. Particulate Matter (one of the most dangerous air pollutants that is always present in smoke from a fire) was not directly addressed in the air monitoring response at all. Spokespeople for Shell could not provide further details either.
Says Jennifer Hadayia, Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston: “The TCEQ is charged with protecting public health and the environment. It feels like they have given up on this mission in Deer Park after possibly using inadequate monitoring techniques and standards. Letting the source of the disaster now monitor its own impact is exactly what we’d expect from a reluctant regulator.”
Industry officials continue to be surprised by community distrust while they make vague assurances and refuse to release information about emissions events and their implications for health. The community deserves to have up-to-date accurate air monitoring reports and real-time emissions inventories.
About Air Alliance Houston
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.
Previous statements on the Shell Deer Park explosion