EPA Urged to Reduce Refinery Pollution

EPA representatives (left to right) Ruben Caso, Fred Thompson, Penny Lassiter and Brenda listen at public hearing. (Courtesy of LaGloria Wheatfall)
EPA representatives (left to right) Ruben Caso, Fred Thompson, Penny Lassiter and an unidentified woman listen at public hearing. (Courtesy of LaGloria Wheatfall)


By LaGloria Wheatfall
Special to the NNPA from The Houston Defender

HOUSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to do more to protect Black, Latino and poor communities from oil refineries that put nearby residents at heightened risk of cancer, asthma, and other upper respiratory diseases, witnesses testified at an EPA Houston-area public hearing on proposed updates to emissions standards for refineries.

“Numerous studies, including some of my own, have documented that poor people and people of color in the United States are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards in their homes, schools, neighborhoods, and workplace,” said Robert D. Bullard, dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University. “Refinery pollution poses special health threats to community residents that generally have higher concentration of uninsured – heightening their vulnerability.”

The proposed EPA provisions will cause a reduction of 5,600 tons per year of toxic air pollutants and 52,000 tons per year of volatile organic compounds, agency officials said.

According to the EPA, exposure to toxic air pollutants can cause respiratory problems and other serious health issues, and can increase the risk of developing cancer. The EPA estimates the capital cost of the proposed rule will be $240 million.

More than 40 people testified at the hearing, which was held in Galena Park, a refinery community along the Houston Ship Channel.

Bullard said, “Many of these neighborhoods have schools, parks and playgrounds, and low-income public housing next-door to these refineries, which pose potential health threats to our most vulnerable population – children.”

Theresa Landrum of the 48217 Community Environmental Health Organization said, “People in communities that are inundated with industry are mostly African-American. The EPA always goes on technical rules but they have to understand that these communities are at risk of cancer, asthma, and other upper respiratory diseases and they have to take into consideration the long-term effect against human health.”

Juan Parras, director of the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, said: “The industry doesn’t get it. All they’re looking at is the cost factor and they don’t consider the cost factor on health issues related to their exposure to the community. Clean up, that’s all we’re asking.”



Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker