Air Pollution From Tank Fire Sparks Lawsuit

AUSTIN — Images of a stream of billowing dark smoke drew the nation’s attention last week to a fire that engulfed 11 petrochemical storage tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Company about 15 miles southeast of Houston in Deer Park.

On March 17, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that all state resources be made available to local and industry officials and urged residents to heed the warnings of local officials. Governmental bodies in nearby affected areas ordered residents to shelter in place because of concerns about unhealthy air quality. Deer Park Independent School District and other districts canceled classes for several days.

The fire was extinguished on March 20. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on March 22 announced that his office, acting on behalf of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, had filed a lawsuit naming the tank storage company as the defendant. The lawsuit alleges that the fire caused air pollution from benzene, xylene, toluene and other contaminants, in violation of the Texas Clean Air Act.

 

 

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