Most coverage of the devastation along the southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana coastal areas focuses on the impact of the flooding on residential and urban areas. What is under-reported is the impact on industrial areas. The Galveston Bay area is responsible for about a third of the petroleum refinery capacity in the United States, and nearly half of the U.S. petrochemical manufacturing. It should not be surprising then, given the current Hurricane Harvey related flooding conditions, that the potential danger and damage to the area and the environment is extreme.
Amy Goodman and Renée Feltz of Democracy Now! hear from Bryan Parras, organizer with the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Dirty Fuels” campaign, and with TEJAS (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services) reporting from the heart of the Petro-Metro industrial zone. He tells us that there has already been a report of an incident in La Porte, Texas, of the escape, which has since been contained, of anhydrous hydrogen chloride, a gas which when it mixes with the moisture in the air produces hydrochloric acid. Of greater concern is the potential for a devastating explosion at a peroxide manufacturing plant in Crosby, Texas, triggered by the spontaneous combustion of chemicals which after the failure of the refrigeration units are no longer being kept cold enough to prevent the reaction.
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