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Posts published in “Day: April 11, 2019”

EPA announces new Air Quality website

• EPA and TCEQ announce story map resource
• Interactive tool provides easy access for ITC fire data

DALLAS – (March 31, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announce a new interactive resource to help keep the public updated and informed about the response activities for the Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC (ITC) Fire in La Porte, Texas.

The new resource, a collaborative, interactive “story map,” can be viewed on EPA’s website at response.epa.gov/ITCTankFire.

EPA and TCEQ’s response actions, as well as maps, photos and sampling locations are featured.

On March 17, 2019, in response to a tank fire at the ITC facility, EPA, TCEQ, along with state and local agencies joined ITC in a Unified Command. EPA and TCEQ continue to be onsite for the emergency response focused on providing the assistance and coordination needed to address any discharges from the site. EPA and TCEQ have been conducting water sampling and air monitoring throughout the affected areas from the onset of the response.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP VISITS CROSBY AREA

President Donald Trump signed two executive orders in Crosby, easing regulations on pipelines and water quality.

CROSBY – “It’s like the circus is coming to town!” exclaimed one Republican resident, of the combined excitement and trepidation of having the presidential motorcade come to an unincorporated area that voted for him in the Presidential election by a whopping 74%.

A flurry of questions poured into this newspaper concerning where folks could get a view or when traffic could be expected to be stopped on FM 2100 or Foley Road. Trump landed his plane at Ellington Field, and travelled by Motorcade to Crosby on US90. After his talk, he returned to Ellington for a fundraiser dinner at the Lone Star Air Museum.

The speech and signing ceremony at the IUOE center was attended by about 400 invited guests, from Harris County and a few from Crosby. A number of industry friends of Trump attended, some even riding the Air Force One with the president.

Arrival at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center comes in controversy. President Trump signed executive orders to facilitate easing regulations on making petrochemicals and speeding up pipeline construction, even in the wake of four petrochemical fires and three worker deaths in less than one month in East Harris County. And the union facility recently became non-profit, thus reducing taxes paid to local first responders. White House officials announced the orders will grant incentives for investors to build energy infrastructure, streamlining permitting for pipeline projects. Last May Trump issued a permit to initiate the delayed Keystone XL Pipeline.

The International Training and Education Center is about 266 acres between Newport and Foley Road in Crosby.

President Trump indicated reducing red tape around pipelines would allow the US to remain undisputed leader of the world in natural gas and oil in the future.

Of course, the new Keystone XL permit is under court challenge, environmentalists sued over the issue of whether Congress, not the executive branch, is granted constitutional rule over federal lands.

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Commissioner Adrian Garcia meets with Federal Officials to address ITC incident

Commissioner Garcia with State Officials at Washington, D.C.

HOUSTON – Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia met with federal officials in Washington, D.C., this week to advocate for infrastructure resources and enhancing safety and collaboration with the chemical industry after the ITC explosion.

During the visit, which spanned Monday, April 1, through Thursday, April 4, Commissioner Garcia met with EPA officials to address the lack of air monitors available after a fire broke out at Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park March 17 and burned for days. Garcia emphasized the need for more foam on site to be able to combat these blazes, as well as the importance of knowing quickly what is inside the tanks so first-responders can be both safe and effective.

“We need to work together, at all levels of government, to ensure industry leaders and our communities cannot just co-exist, but be good neighbors and look out for each other,” Commissioner Garcia said.

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