Texas power failures dumped 3.3 million EXTRA pounds of pollution

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Millions of pounds of extra pollution was released into the air during the freezeouts in Texas last month, according to an independent analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund, Air Alliance Houston, and Environment Texas.

Some 200 oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and other facilities released at least 3.5 million pounds of extra pollution in the period between February 11th and February 22nd, with nearly 20% of the pollution occurring in the Houston area. By comparison, plants along the Gulf Coast emitted 1 million pounds of excess pollution after 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.

The analysis found many of the plants are repeat offenders, also reporting emissions exceeding state limits following Harvey. Black and Latino households were most likely to be directly affected by the elevated emissions – as they were by other impacts from the storm and days of power outages that left millions without heat, light, and, in some cases, running water – because they are more likely than the nation as a whole to live near these facilities.

Moreover, much of this data relies on facilities’ self-reported figures: The Texas Commission on Environmental Equality said power failures and other problems knocked 39 of its air quality monitors offline during the storm. “

The health and safety of every Texan matters,” said Bakeyah Nelson, executive director of Air Alliance Houston. “Yet corporations repeatedly engage in behaviors that put the most vulnerable communities in harm’s way, and the state rarely holds them accountable, choosing to protect profits over people.”

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