08/19/09 1:23pm

CEDAR BAYOU AIR UPSETS The Sierra Club and a Texas environmental group have filed suit against Chevron Phillips claiming a bonus supply of air pollutants and toxic chemicals has been escaping from the company’s Cedar Bayou chemical plant just north of I-10 in Baytown: “‘Like many companies in Texas, Chevron Phillips has repeatedly violated its own permit limits by emitting a wide range of harmful pollutants into the air from the Cedar Bayou plant,’ said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. ‘Because the state of Texas has failed to stop such violations at Cedar Bayou and elsewhere, citizen groups have had to step up and enforce the law themselves.’ The Clean Air Act contains a ‘citizen suit’ provision that allows private citizens affected by violations of the law to bring an enforcement suit in federal court if state and federal regulators do not. . . . Chevron Phillips’s permits contain both hourly and yearly limits on the amounts of pollutants it can emit into the atmosphere. The lawsuit alleges that equipment breakdowns, malfunctions, and other non-routine incidents at the Cedar Bayou complex have resulted in the release of more than a¬†million pounds of pollutants into the surrounding air, frequently in violation of legal limits. A single such ‘upset’ or ’emission event’ can result in the release of tens of thousands of pounds of air pollutants in a matter of hours or even minutes.” [Environment Texas, via Houston Chronicle]