36,000 people, five schools, and over 20 churches are located within a three-mile radius of Valero Energy Corporation’s Port Arthur, TX, oil refinery, according to 2019 data. Surrounded by Valero and several other refineries and chemical plants, residents live in fear of chronic exposure to harmful pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulate matter. This fear is justified by the frequency with which Valero exceeds its federal pollution limits.

Working with attorneys from Lone Star Legal Aid, in May 2019 NELC sent Valero a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue on behalf of three environmental groups. The notice letter alleged more than 600 violations of Valero’s Clean Air Act permits from 2014 to 2019, resulting in the release of almost 1.8 million pounds of unauthorized pollution into heavily populated neighborhoods. On the 58th day after receiving NELC’s notice letter, the Texas Attorney General and Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) filed their own lawsuit to enforce the exact list of violations described in our letter. NELC is monitoring the progress of that suit to ensure that it is diligently prosecuted.