County Attorney Vince Ryan files suit to stop polluting Pasadena refinery
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan filed an enforcement action in state District Court Friday against Pasadena Refining Services Inc. (PRSI) seeking to hold that company responsible for repeated violations of Texas environmental protection laws.
Investigations conducted by Harris County Pollution Control Services uncovered serious violations of the Texas Clean Air Act and Texas Clean Water Act. The County is asking a court to review the company’s environmental practices and if the company cannot develop an acceptable plan to achieve compliance, the County asks that a court-ordered receiver be appointed to insure the company takes the necessary correctives measures.
Violations included an incident that occurred on July 25, 2016 in which 1,446 pounds of sulfur dioxide was released during a flaring operation. Sulfur dioxide is a toxic gas that has a characteristic smell. Human exposure to the gas can cause difficulty breathing and can be fatal. The release was almost five times the limit imposed by law. As a result of the release, the Washburn Tunnel and the Houston Ship Channel were closed, and the City of Galena Park issued a shelter-in-place order that lasted for one-and-a-half hours.
PRSI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petrobras, a Brazilian national oil company. The violations occurred at the century-old refinery the company operates on the Houston Ship Channel at 111 Red Bluff Road in Pasadena. The facility in question is one of oldest refineries in Texas.
County officials and company representatives met on March 2 and agreed to work together to resolve the case.
Click here to view the petition.