Join The Discussion

 

New arena at Will Rogers takes shape


The proposed Will Rogers Memorial Center arena continues to take shape as voters head for a Nov. 4 election to decide whether to approve new taxes to help pay for the $450 million facility.

read more >

Cooking Class: Fort Worth chef brings home the gold

Toques off to Timothy Prefontaine. The executive chef at the iconic Fort Worth Club is currently the best in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation. Prefontaine earned the title of 2014 U.S.A.’s Chef of the

read more >

Fort Worth firm 'simplifies' advertising

Reaching customers requires more than price slashing and flashy ads. In today’s competitive marketplace, machines – not men and women – are essential to tapping new markets and

read more >

Trinity Valley School leader to leave in May 2015

Gary Krahn, head of school for the past eight years at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, will leave his position in May 2015 when he and his wife Paula will move

read more >

RadioShack rescue raises question of what's worth saving

NEW YORK — RadioShack Corp.'s effort to seek financing and stave off bankruptcy raises a key question for investors, analysts and the customers who've shunned the electronics retailer for years: What's worth saving here?

read more >

Residents at Texas hearing: Restrict emissions at oil refineries


EMILY SCHMALL, Associated Press

GALENA PARK, Texas (AP) — Environmental advocates and residents living near oil refineries asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to force petroleum companies to adopt stricter emissions standards and publicly release emissions data to help reduce communities' exposure to a cancer-causing chemical.

By midafternoon, about 60 people had addressed the federal agency during a hearing on the EPA's proposal to compel refineries — for the first time — to monitor and report emissions of benzene to nearby communities.

"I really didn't know the extent of the dangers of being exposed to all these fumes. Finding out what you're really breathing, it's scary. Still, better to know than be kept in the dark," said Maricela Serna, a Galena Park city commissioner.

The new rule also would compel refiners to purchase and place monitors to track emissions of the carcinogen into those communities, upgrade storage tank and emission controls on coker units, where crude oil is pumped at the beginning of the refining process, and reduce flaring.

Residents from Texas, California, Louisiana and Michigan attended the hearing in suburban Houston. It was the second and final public hearing resulting from a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project on behalf of U.S. communities near oil refineries. The suit, filed against the EPA, argued that the federal agency was more than a decade late in reviewing and updating toxic air standards for refineries.

Theresa Landrum traveled to Texas from Detroit to testify about the "toxic soup" she said she and her neighbors are exposed to from living alongside a refinery. A cancer survivor, Landrum said she lost her mother, father and brother to cancer she believes was caused by refinery emissions.

"The fenceline monitoring will help us determine what is coming out of those stacks," she said.

Adan Vazquez said that in winter, "snow flurries look like ash" because of a refinery near the Houston Ship Channel less than a mile from his Pasadena, Texas, home.

Kelly Haragan, who directs the University of Texas School of Law environmental law clinic in Austin, echoed the opinion of many environmental experts, saying that the EPA's proposed rules are important but insufficient.

While applauding fenceline monitoring of benzene emissions as a "wonderful concept," Haragan asked the EPA to also monitor other toxins and provide the data in real-time. The monitors the EPA has proposed would release data to the public two weeks after it is collected.

The EPA cannot use real-time monitors because they are less perceptive to low concentrations of benzene, according to EPA spokeswoman Alison Davis.

Haragan also asked the EPA to revise the 1 in 10,000 cancer risk from benzene emissions it currently deems acceptable, which Davis said EPA will consider in its review after the public comment period ends August 29.

On that standard, Matthew Todd of the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas lobbying group, testified Tuesday that EPA has determined that fenceline communities are shielded with an "ample margin of safety" from refinery emissions.

Todd added that air quality nationwide has improved significantly since major revisions to the Clean Air Act were made in 1990, in part because of billions invested by oil and gas companies to improve the "environmental performance" of facilities, operations and products.

EPA officials estimate the rules could reduce toxic air emissions by as much as 5,600 tons a year, directly affecting the 5 million people in the U.S. who live within a 32-mile radius of oil refineries.

In accordance with the terms of the lawsuit, a final EPA rule must be issued by April 2015.

 

 

 

 

< back

Email   email
hide
Arena
What do you think of the new plans for a new Will Rogers arena and changes at the Convention Center?