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Yesterday in Crosby, Texas (about 25 miles northeast of Houston) a tank holding a flammable chemical caught fire at a KMCO chemical plant, killing one worker, critically injuring two others and sending panicked employees fleeing over a fence to safety. This was the third explosion in the petrochemical industry in the past 3 weeks (the others were an Exxon refinery in Baytown, TX and at an Intercontinental Terminals Co. plant in Deer Park TX). As AP reported, “all residents within a one-mile radius of the plant were ordered to stay indoors or shelter in place for about four hours. The fire sent a large black plume of smoke into the air.”
Why This Matters: KMCO, Exxon and Intercontinental Terminals are all part of their industry’s highly-touted environmental health and safety programs (ACC’s Responsible Care and SOCMA’s Chem Stewards programs) which have been promoted as alternatives to more stringent regulations. However, in Texas regulators are failing to issue penalties for fossil fuel and petrochemical companies that violate laws and these three recent fires demonstrate that neither self-regulation nor industry-friendly regulators (who underestimate public health risks) are capable of keeping the public safe. These industries exert extraordinary political influence in oil and gas-producing states but some cities like New Orleans are taking up the fight to hold them accountable, perhaps it’s Houston’s turn.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Air pollution from animal farms leads to nearly 13,000 deaths annually, according to a new study that links food protection and air quality harms. The manure and animal feed from farms produce fine-particle pollution that leads to breathing issues as well as long-term health issues like heart disease and […]
The European Union is angling for climate neutrality by 2050, and in order to hit that target needs to ramp down its transportation emissions by about 90 percent. Trams — or what is known as light rail here in the U.S. — are having a moment as part of that planning.
Why This Matters: Lowering emissions doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel.
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first rule of the Biden administration to combat climate change. EPA Administrator Michael Regan has announced that the rule implementing the 15-year phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) passed by Congress last year.
Why This Matters: Although HFCs have an atmospheric lifetime of about 15 years, which is less than any other GHG, and the most common type is 3,790 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
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