On Thursday, April 19th, members of several federal agencies and the EPA’s top lieutenants, Lisa Garcia for environmental justice and Al Armendariz for Region 6 (which includes Texas), toured refinery row in Corpus Christi.
Residents told stories of living near the refineries and of their concerns that even more big polluters may be coming to the area. Among the issues highlighted:
- The use of hydrofluoric acid, a lethal toxic chemical, in the refineries. There is a safer substitute, and residents are urging local refineries to switch. See this investigative special by ABC News to learn more.
- The constant nature of flares and upsets. Residents are asking TCEQ, EPA, and DOJ for more stringent enforcement of appropriate fines.
- Coal and petroleum-coke dust blowing over people’s homes. Currently the piles are sitting in large piles. The piles are so large that only the bottom half gets watered down, and the top blows off into adjacent communities.
- The possible construction of Las Brisas, a 1,320 mw coal-fired power plant that would increase pollution in the area by over 82%.
- The possible plans by the Port of Corpus Christi to export huge amounts of coal, which would mean even more coal dust in the area.
Residents in the area had teamed up with the Sierra Club to create and distribute over 150 yard signs that emphasized the underlying issues of public health and the cumulative effect of pollution. Here they are: