Pollution

Harris County Fire Marshal's Office via AP

Nearly two-thirds of the plastics-producing plants in the Houston area have violated air pollution limits over the past five years, according to an analysis of public records from the Austin- and Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project.

@Sunjtf Photo /Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

From Texas Standard:

Texas Standard has covered the dangers nurdles pose to marine life on the Texas coast. Now, the Texas Observer reports that Formosa Plastics, a petrochemical company outside of Port Lavaca, can be held liable for violating state and federal pollution laws after a federal judge ruled against the company last week.

Nurdles are small pieces of plastic that look like hail.

A Carnival cruise ship
jshyun/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

From Texas Standard:

Cruise operator Carnival Corp. was convicted in 2016 of illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean and attempting to cover it up. New records show that's still happening.

Skull Creek flows black as it crosses over a country road downstream from Inland Environmental & Remediation Inc. near Altair on April 14, 2019.
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

ALTAIR – For more than two months, the waters of Skull Creek have flowed black, its surface covered in an iridescent sheen. Yellowed fish skeletons line the pebbled banks of the Colorado River tributary and a dizzying, chemical odor hangs in the air.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Chemical plants and oil refineries spewed millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air and on the ground after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas a year ago. Some parts of the state did a better job than others in controlling those emissions and spills, according to a new report that tries to take lessons from Harvey to better prepare for the next storm.

The City of Austin was selected to receive two grants totaling $300,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up brownfields, unused land that may be contaminated with hazardous chemicals.

flickr/senor_codo

With little fanfare the Environmental Protection Agency released a new environmental rule last week that would limit sulphur dioxide pollution from power plants as part of the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

Flickr user Señor Codo

In another lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Texas is taking aim at tightened standards on ground-level ozone — President Obama’s effort to cut down on smog that chokes the nation’s skies. 

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Over the objections of Texas officials, the Obama administration on Wednesday proposed a long-delayed rule to slash levels of ozone – a smog-forming pollutant known to worsen asthma, lung disease and heart conditions.

The regulation is the latest example of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's use of the Clean Air Act to crack down on the pollution wafting from factories, power plants and tailpipes.

Environmental Protection Agency

You could call it a win for Texas officials in their ongoing battle against the Environmental Protection Agency.

A federal appeals court decided this morning the EPA went beyond its authority with a cross-state air pollution rule. The rule would have clamped down on power plant pollution that affects air quality in neighboring states. It was set to go in effect in January but several states, including Texas, sued to stop it.

Attorney General Greg Abbott is leading the charge for Texas against the EPA. He issued this statement about today's ruling: