air pollution and value of public health : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Fair use etc July 7, 2000, 9:29PM State officials offer Pasadena refinery lower pollution fine By BILL DAWSON Copyright 2000 Houston ChronicleEnvironment Writer State environmental officials have whittled their latest proposed fine for air pollution at an embattled Pasadena refinery from $1.25 million to $873,000. Negotiations are continuing between the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and Crown Central Petroleum, officials said Friday. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, is urging a fine of at least $4.25 million, charging it has been "cheaper for Crown to pollute surrounding communities than to operate the refinery cleanly and safely." In 1998, Crown agreed to pay the highest-ever Texas fine for air quality violations -- $1.05 million -- and undertake corrective actions. That penalty was assessed for violations prior to the alleged excessive emissions cited in TNRCC's new fine proposal disclosed in May. Crown formally contested the $1.25 million amount, and TNRCC staff changed it to $873,000, agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins said. Such adjustments often occur. If a deal isn't reached, the TNRCC refers alleged violations to the attorney general for lawsuits aimed at obtaining financial penalties. Crown spokesman Bruce Hicks said Friday that company officials believe $873,000 is still too high. Jackson Lee pleaded for a stiffer fine in a June 30 letter to the TNRCC, Gov. George W. Bush and federal and Harris County officials. It was released by the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, which has denounced the Crown refinery's alleged pollution woes since the company locked out union members in 1996 and replaced them with temporary contract workers.

-- mike in houston (, July 08, 2000

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