Texas regulators are failing to properly monitor, control and enforce federal emission standards! Like in Ohio?!

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 07/08/2010 - 17:20.

Bicyclist in Cleveland Flats during unhealthy smog conditions

Real bicycle commuter riding to work in a lumber yard in the Cleveland Flats. His work didn't cause this smog.

Why am I so hostile toward Ohio leadership?

Must be the poison in the air!

And, the life in hell lived by real environmentalists.

Consider what is necessary to clean up the air in environmentally-compromised Texas, where "Environmental groups say Exxon Mobil refinery violates U.S. air law" - "The environmental groups' legal maneuvers are part of broader accusations by the organizations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that Texas regulators are failing to properly monitor, control and enforce federal emission standards."

You think it is any easier to deal with the greatest corruption on Earth - the corruption of our environmental laws - right here in highly corrupt, polluted, old-economy Northeast Ohio?

Of course not - this battlefield is living hell.

Cleveland Flats in sea of smog from Mittal Steel - 8am 07/08/2010

Now, consider what real collaborations and civic and legal actions are necessary and effective to fight real pollution at the scale we are fighting it here in Ohio - the Sierra Club and the Federal EPA are taking legal action AGAINST the Texas STATE REGULATORS and the world's largest corporations because they are not in fact protecting the environment, as required by the Federal government, and so the LOCAL REGULATORS are harming citizens and the world.

The real EPA and real environmentalists are now kicking corrupt corporate, political and "environmentalist" ass back in Texas.

Ready for some real corrupt corporate, political and "environmentalist" ass kicking in Ohio - Texas style!

It is on, baby, whether Cleveland+polluters like it or not.

Trucks hauling waste from Mittal Cleveland WOrks steel plant in Cleveland Flats

Via my postings on realNEO about pollution here, over a period of many years, I have given the leadership of corporate America, the Federal EPA and all Ohio, Northeast Ohio and Cleveland-area environmental enforcement agencies, and supposed environmentalists here, sufficient notice that Ohio regulators are failing to properly monitor, control and enforce federal emission standards, and that I believe that political, business and environmental leadership are hiding the violations of polluters by causing ineffective and so publicly harmful and dangerous pollution control practices here, which are made possible by government failure here to really monitor, control and enforce federal emission standards.

NOACA PM 2.5 1-hour average air pollution monitoring results for 9AM 07/80/2010
NOACA PM 2.5 1-hour average air pollution monitoring results for 9AM 07/80/2010,
around when and where the photos for this posting were taken - pollution was clearly through the roof...
these monitor results show largely "good" conditions in the region, with No Data at times in Cleveland.

All this is just plain wrong!

The outcome is poorer health, education and life for citizens, which costs society $ trillions.

I intend to prove all that and worse, about our poor environmental leadership here in unreal NEO.

Cleveland in sea of smog from Cleveland Flats

As indicated in the links above, I have been compiling evidence of corrupt and/or incompetent pollution control in Ohio for many years, and have now formally requested the help of the Sierra Club and their affiliates around the world to force change upon Ohio regulators who are failing to properly monitor, control and enforce federal emission standards here.

Cleveland in sea of smog, viewed from the Heights 07/08/2010

An excellent test of air pollution is reduction in visibility.
All photos from this posting were taken between 8-9 am 07/08/2010.
On a healthy day, you see downtown Cleveland clearly from this vantage point East of downtown

As I am seeking real, good outcomes for here - elimination of physical harm from Mittal and other excessive polluters in this region - like being realized through real environmentalism in Texas, my role in this community is not Mr. Nice Guy. I am the uncompromising polluter-killer who makes the Sierra Club seem like a breath of cool fresh air on an astoundingly dangerous Cleveland July afternoon, like today...

Breath deeply, real NEO:

Environmental groups say Exxon Mobil refinery violates U.S. air laws
Published: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 10:58 AM     Updated: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 11:04 AM
Associated Press business staff Associated Press business staff

HOUSTON -- The largest U.S. oil refinery violated federal air pollution laws thousands of times during the last five years, releasing 10 million pounds of illegal pollution, including cancer-causing toxins, without facing proper fines or being forced to fix equipment, environmental groups claim.

Exxon Mobil Corp., which owns the refinery, is the latest target of Sierra Club and Environment Texas, which recently forced Shell into a $5.8 million settlement over its Clean Air Act violations and has filed a lawsuit against Chevron Phillips.

The environmental groups have not yet sued Exxon but have notified the Irving, Texas-based company, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality of plans do so -- a requirement under the Clean Air Act.

The Associated Press obtained copies of the groups' two 60-day notices, which outline violations Exxon measured and reported itself. Among other complaints, the notices accuse Exxon of violating emissions limits on sulfur dioxide, one of the components of acid rain; hydrogen sulfide, a toxic, flammable gas characterized by a rotten egg smell; cancer-causing agents such as benzene and butadiene; carbon monoxide; and the smog-causing agent nitrogen oxide.

The environmental groups' legal maneuvers are part of broader accusations by the organizations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that Texas regulators are failing to properly monitor, control and enforce federal emission standards.

Exxon reported all of the incidents and claimed in some cases they were "not considered deviations" because they did not violate the limitations in the air operating permit for the refinery, which is in Baytown, about 35 miles southeast of Houston.

Exxon confirmed in a written statement today that it had received a notice of the groups' intent to sue. The oil giant said it works closely with the EPA and Texas regulators to control and report emissions from the Baytown refinery and petrochemical plants. It said it had reduced benzene emissions by 70 percent between 1990 and 2008, as well as significantly reducing other pollutants in the past decade.

"We continue to make significant improvements in the environmental performance of our Baytown complex through emissions controls, technology enhancements and process changes," the statement said.

Sierra Club and Environment Texas hope that by investigating suspected violations by the dozens of refineries and petrochemical plants that line the Houston Ship Channel and filing suit against polluters, it will force the companies to act responsibly and push the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to more closely monitor and maintain pollution standards, Neil Carman, a Sierra Club chemist who is spearheading the investigations and lawsuits, said.

"The TCEQ is not enforcing the Clean Air Act in Texas and these cases are clear evidence of the agency's failure in carrying out its mission in protecting public health in Texas," Carman said.

The Texas commission declined to comment specifically on the pending litigating but said in a written statement that it has an effective enforcement program that uses corrective actions when necessary.

"The TCEQ believes that enforcement is not a goal, but one tool among many available to protect the environment and people," the statement said. "The agency pursues strong and vigorous enforcement."

The agency also said it has been issuing more fines in recent years, increasing from $11.3 million in 2007 to $23 million last year.

About 70,300 people live in Baytown, which is home to the Exxon refinery and two accompanying petrochemical plants. The refinery, founded in 1919 with 100 employees, now has 4,000 workers on a complex stretching across five square miles. It can process nearly 570,000 barrels of crude daily.

The environmental groups' letters to Exxon and regulators are official notice that a lawsuit will be filed if a deal is not reached with Exxon to pay millions of dollars in fines and update equipment causing the thousands of incidents at the plant.

The letters were dated Nov. 30 and July 2 and show nearly daily violations and excess emissions reported by the company itself from 2005 until this year.

In one case, Exxon noted a roof drain failed but said emissions had not been calculated, as required. In other instances, the plant reported a small fire or failure to monitor pressure readings during a procedure. In a 20-day period in 2009, the company reported spills of nearly 50 gallons of different types of oils. In 2008, it reported it exceeded 24 hour averages of ammonia five consecutive times. In 2006, it failed to monitor certain pressure readings during a performance test and under corrective action listed it was talking to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about excluding such readings from the requirements.

"Based on available information ... Exxon Mobil has repeatedly violated, and will continue to violate, its air operating permits, the Texas State Implementation Plan and the federal Clean Air Act by emitting air pollutants into the atmosphere from the Baytown complex," attorney Joshua Kratka wrote in the letter dated Nov. 30.

The sides have met since the November letter was issued but have not yet reached an out-of-court agreement. Kratka's letter stated that any lawsuit would cover the five years preceding the letter and any incidents after Nov. 30.

Sierra Club and Environment Texas reached a $5.8 million settlement with Shell in April 2009 after filing a similar lawsuit against that petroleum giant. Shell also is required to make several costly fixes to its Houston-area facility to ensure it meets standards.

A similar lawsuit filed against Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas, is ongoing.


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