HOUSTON, Texas—Back in March, NELC attorneys filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Environment Texas and Sierra Club against Pasadena Refining System, Inc. (PRSI) for thousands of violations of the federal Clean Air Act at its Pasadena, Texas, refinery. This marks the fourth lawsuit in our campaign to clean the air on Texas’s Gulf Coast.
PRSI is owned by one of the largest energy companies in the world, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., or Petrobras, which has been linked to a bribery and kickbacks scandal known as “Operation Car Wash,” the largest corruption scandal in the history of Brazil.
It is perhaps no coincidence that for years the Pasadena refinery paid little attention to compliance with U.S. environmental laws, as it has illegally emitted particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other air pollutants in amounts that greatly exceed hourly and annual pollution limits. The pollutants emitted by the Pasadena refinery pose real health risks. Small particulate matter, for example, can cause or exacerbate asthma and other lung damage, can contrib- ute to lung cancer, and can contribute to heart disease.
After initial settlement discussions, PRSI did an about-face in May by filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, PRSI has now reversed course again, and is seeking to settle.
Although the details of settlement negotiations are confidential, NELC attorneys will seek to obtain binding commitments from the company to upgrade equipment and procedures to reduce emissions, achieve sustained compliance with its pollution limits, and pay a substantial penalty for its past violations.