Air pollution happens every day in Houston. Sometimes, that pollution is well within permit limits, considered safe by state environmental regulators, and sometimes, it's not. So how do Houston residents who care about air quality tell the difference? Several environmental groups have recently debuted a handy new tool that notifies people when a Texas industry anticipates releasing air pollution that exceeds permitted limits.
Texas' largest power plant - the W.A. Parish coal station near Houston - won't require additional monitoring because its sulfur dioxide emission levels fall within acceptable federal guidelines. The massive coal plant has long drawn the ire of environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Environment Texas because of air quality concerns.
The bust in the energy industry has left Texas with nearly 10,000 abandoned wells that need plugging. That in itself isn’t good, but couple in the fact that the state Railroad Commission doesn’t have the money to pay for it.
Today, Earthworks released Oil & Gas Threat Map (oilandgasthreatmap.com) a new tool that maps the locations of the 398,787 active oil & gas wells, compressors & processors operating in Texas, and the populations, schools and hospitals within a ½ mile radius of those facilities. Peer-reviewed science shows that living near polluting oil and gas operations is linked to negative health impacts, including fetal defects and respiratory ailments.