Houston, TX – NELC’s latest air pollution case on the Texas Gulf Coast is against ExxonMobil Corporation for extensive and longstanding violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) at the company’s Baytown refinery and chemical plant complex, the largest industrial facility in the nation. This summer, NELC attorneys moved for summary judgment in the case, asking U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner to rule prior to trial that Exxon has committed more than 10,000 violations of the CAA since late 2005—violations already documented by Exxon.
Meanwhile, Exxon also moved for summary judgment, seeking a ruling that citizen enforcement of the CAA is unnecessary because the state and federal environmental agencies have purportedly addressed the violations. (See related article on 2013 Winter – NELC Attorney Named “Legal Hero”)
On Nov. 15, Judge Hittner listened to three hours of oral argument on the cross-motions. Between the time the motions were filed and the hearing was held, Exxon’s illegal emissions continued apace. In one event, a fire blazed out of control in a cooling tower at the Baytown refinery, and resulted in the emission of thousands of pounds of hazardous chemicals— further reinforcing the need for a speedy judgment.