100,000 tons of pollution linked to ‘accidents’ in oil refineries

Almost 100,000 tons of pollution released in Texas between 2009-2011 were from “accidents” in oil and gas refineries, according to a new study. The report from the Environmental Integrity Project […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Almost 100,000 tons of pollution released in Texas between 2009-2011 were from “accidents” in oil and gas refineries, according to a new study.

The report from the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) found “non-routine emission events” at chemical plants and refineries released a combined total of more than 42,000 tons of sulphur dioxide (SO2), which is a poisonous gas released from burning fossil fuels. The report claims this is usually not included in the data used by the Government to evaluate public health impacts.

The report also showed natural gas operations accounted for more than 85% of total SO2, which is linked to asthma attacks and other respiratory problems and could contribute to premature death from heart disease.

Eric Schaeffer EIP’s Director said: “Too many of these ‘accidents’ are the norm at some natural gas and chemical plants. These upsets can dump a lot of pollution in a few short hours and some of them continue releasing benzene and other toxins for weeks. Many of these breakdowns – and the pollution that comes with them – could be prevented by upgrading pollution controls, improving maintenance and recapturing and reusing gas instead of releasing it to the environment as pollution.”