Legal news by Dallas injury lawyers. Chevron Phillips Chemical Plant sued by two environmental groups over toxic emission releases.
Texas lawyer’s alert- Chevron Phillips Chemical Company sued by the Sierra Club for toxic emissions and violations of the Clean Air Act.
Houston, TX—Two environmental groups, the Sierra Club and Environment Texas, filed a lawsuit in the Houston federal court to enforce the federal Clean Air Act at the Chevron Phillips Chemical Company Bayou chemical plant in Baytown. The environmental groups are demanding the plant reduce the amount of harmful emissions and pollution released into Texas’ air supply, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, August 19, 2009, claims the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant has unlawfully dispersed an excess of 1 million pounds of toxic emissions and pollutants into the air, like benzene and 1,2-butadiene, since 2003. According state records and the environmental groups, the plant allegedly has experienced hundreds of emission releases known as “upsets” over the past six years. Upsets happen during startup and shutdowns, equipment malfunctions, unscheduled maintenance and unforeseen instances, which release emissions. The environmental groups claim majority of the upsets were avoidable, but officials with Chevron allege half of the upsets are due to hurricanes and power outages, which are out of their control. The Bayou plant has reportedly been fined $250,000 since 2003 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for such upsets. Chevron Corporation together with ConocoPhillips, are one of the world’s largest producers of basic chemicals and plastics, like olefins and polyolefins.
The environmental groups filed the lawsuit under the Clear Air Act provision, which enables citizens to file a lawsuit to enforce the clean air regulations and standards if the governmental agencies fail to enforce them. The groups are asking Chevron Phillips upgrade their equipment and pay penalties.