HOUSTON—In 2017, NELC attorneys filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Environment Texas and Sierra Club against a Pasadena, Texas, oil refinery— now owned by Chevron Corporation—for thousands of violations of the federal Clean Air Act. Our subsequent settlement of the case continues to produce air quality benefits for residents of the Texas Gulf Coast.

First, the settlement mandated significant operational and equipment up-grades at the plant, and these have dramatically cut the unauthorized emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter that had long plagued surrounding neighborhoods. Second, the settlement created a local “Vehicle Emission Reduction Fund,” financed by Chevron, that has thus far spent more than $3 million replacing old polluting buses and other municipal vehicles with new low- and zero-emission vehicles.

In addition to cutting refinery and motor vehicle emissions, this two-pronged approach has kept the heat on the company: Chevron paid an additional $94,000 penalty to the clean vehicle fund in July 2022 because it had not sufficiently reduced emissions from one problem refinery unit. And the company will keep paying, and putting more clean vehicles on the road, until it achieves full compliance.