Texas Companies Released 1 Million Pounds Of Excess Pollution During Cold

"Called “upset” events, companies are required to tell the state when they emit pollution above what their permits allow."

"Frigid weather this month caused industrial facilities across Texas to release unplanned air pollution as machinery froze, power went out and icy conditions blocked service crews.

Over four chilly days between Jan. 14 and 17, companies submitted reports to Texas’ environmental regulator, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, that attributed at least 36 instances of “unintentional” emissions to the freezing temperatures.

According to the companies’ preliminary estimates, those incidents collectively produced more than a million pounds of air pollution. That’s a small figure compared with the massive volumes of permitted emissions released every day across this large, industry-heavy state. But the reports illustrate the sensitivity of facilities to the weather and expose a long-standing loophole in environmental enforcement that allows companies to exceed permitted emissions limits without consequence under certain conditions."

Alejandra Martinez reports for the Texas Tribune, and Dylan Baddour for Inside Climate News, January 26, 2024.


Source: Texas Tribune/ICN, 01/29/2024