Happy New Year from Baytown!

Baytown Sunrise

That beautiful flare glowing from atop ExxonMobil Chemical’s Olefins plant in Baytown last Thursday night wasn’t just a pretty New Year’s display for the city. It came with a couple of bonuses: two “not specifically authorized” releases, including 6,857 pounds of benzene, plus a bunch of other fun toxins.

Not to be outdone, the nearby ExxonMobil oil refinery decided to celebrate the new year in its own special way, releasing a bouquet of smelly agents including 3,010 lbs. of neurotoxicant carbonyl sulfide into our lovely Gulf air.

Now when Houston visitors ask you why the east side of the city has an odor reminiscent of cooked cabbage, you’ll be able to explain why.

Meanwhile, two environmental organizations are interrupting the normal course of business over in Deer Park with a pesky lawsuit:

“On average of more than once a week for at least the past five years, Shell has reported that it violated its own permit limits by spewing a wide range of harmful pollutants into the air around the Deer Park plant,” said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas.

Photo of Baytown sunrise: Bill Jacobus