Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Fire Continues at Texas Petrochemical Plant as Company's History of Violations Gets Renewed Scrutiny

Popular
Fire Continues at Texas Petrochemical Plant as Company's History of Violations Gets Renewed Scrutiny
A fire erupted Sunday at a petrochemical plant in Deer Park, Texas. NowThis News / YouTube screenshot

By Andrea Germanos

A petrochemical plant near Houston continued to burn for a second day on Monday, raising questions about the quality and safety of the air.

The Deer Park facility is owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), which said the fire broke out at roughly 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Seven tanks are involved, the company said, and they contain naptha, xylene, "gas blend stocks" and "base oil."

"It's going to have to burn out at the tank," Ray Russell, communications officer for Channel Industries Mutual Aid, which is aiding the response effort, said at a news conference. It could take "probably two days" for that to happen, he added.


No injuries were immediately reported.

"Although the risk of explosion is minimal, we continue to take precautions to further reduce this possibility," the company said in a statemnt.

An order to shelter in place for the city of Deer Park was lifted Monday morning.

Filming outside the plant on Monday, local ABC13 reporter Miya Shay said that despite the assertion by the city, informed by results from a private air monitoring contractor, that the air quality was safe, it is "hard to believe it's all fine."

As Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas, pointed out, "Intercontinental Terminals estimates the fire has already resulted in 3.1 million pounds of unauthorized emissions. That's more than all the facilities in the Houston area put out during Harvey."

What's more, he said, the company "has a history of violations. For example, the company discharged cyanide into the impaired Tucker Creek eight times above permitted levels — once as high as 1138 percent above the permit."

The Deer Park incident erupted just one day after a fire broke out roughly a dozen miles away at ExxonMobil's massive refinery in Baytown. That fire has been contained.

The Texas arm of advocacy group Public Citizen pointed to the recent incidents as evidence that the U.S. Environment Protection Agency and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should do a better job at protecting public health:

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

In December of 1924, the heads of all the major lightbulb manufacturers across the world met in Geneva to concoct a sinister plan. Their talks outlined limits on how long all of their lightbulbs would last. The idea is that if their bulbs failed quickly customers would have to buy more of their product. In this video, we're going to unpack this idea of purposefully creating inferior products to drive sales, a symptom of late-stage capitalism that has since been coined planned obsolescence. And as we'll see, this obsolescence can have drastic consequences on our wallets, waste streams, and even our climate.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Rescuers search for survivors at a collapsed building in Mamuju city on January 15, 2021, after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia's Sulawesi island. Firdaus / AFP / Getty Images

At least 42 people are confirmed dead and more than 600 injured after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi early Friday morning.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Environmental activist Winona LaDuke (C) and water protectors stand in front of the construction site for the Line 3 oil pipeline near Palisade, Minnesota, on Jan. 9, 2021. Kerem Yucel / AFP via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett



Water protectors were arrested Thursday after halting construction at a Minnesota worksite for Enbridge's Line 3 project by locking themselves together inside a pipe segment.

Read More Show Less
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaks during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken for National Clean Energy Summit / Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a sweeping climate bill on Thursday that would have put the commonwealth on a path to eliminating carbon emissions by 2050.

Read More Show Less
Commuters make their way through a flooded street after heavy monsoon rains in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 21, 2020. Munir Uz Zaman / Getty Images

By Ajit Niranjan

World leaders and businesses are not putting enough money into adapting to dangerous changes in the climate and must "urgently step up action," according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Read More Show Less