Giant Baytown Refinery Complex Wants To Expand Amid Community Backlash

"Community members point to 13 years of litigation over alleged illegal pollution and three consecutive years of Clean Air Act violations."

"BAYTOWN, Texas — Exxon’s Baytown complex in the Houston-area has the third largest oil refinery in the U.S. and is requesting permit renewal for its olefins plant despite repeated violations to the Clean Air Act.

Exxon’s renewal permit needs to be approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) every five years. The renewal was contested by residents and activists alike at a meeting this week due to pollution concerns and 12 consecutive quarters of Clean Air Act violations at the Baytown Olefins Plant, one of the largest in the world. The Baytown Olefins Plant manufactures approximately 10 billion pounds of petrochemical products each year, according to Exxon, and also emits chemicals like benzene which is classified as a carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The plant produces materials for products like plastics and tires.

The TCEQ permitting board held a notice and comment hearing with Exxon representatives on Monday, Feb. 5. Community members expressed concern over the planned expansion and pointed to ongoing pollution and the company’s spotty record, while Exxon representatives stated a reduction of 50% in emissions of volatile organic compounds from 2019 to 2022 at its olefins plant."

Cami Ferrell reports for Environmental Health News February 8, 2024.

Source: EHN, 02/15/2024