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Environmental groups speak out at hearing on Exxon air quality permit

September 6, 2018

By Brian Burns

Portland, TX (KIII News) — Environmental groups are now officially on record opposing an air quality permit for the new multi-billion dollar Exxon plastics plant planned for the Portland area.

A hearing was held by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Thursday aimed at finding out just how much opposition to the project there is.

The hearing began with the questioning of residents who are members of environmental groups opposed to the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project. Both the Sierra Club and the Texas Campaign for the Environment were recognized as official parties to the opposition of the air quality permit. Both groups asked for more time to prepare their cases.

The attorney with the Sierra Club said the group objects to the permit because of possible pollution.

“Everbody likes the money that comes from industry, almost nobody likes the flares at night, the way the air smells, that kind of stuff,” Sierra Club Attorney David Frederick said.

One resident who belongs to the environmental group was asked why he was opposed to the permit.

“I have grandchildren and a daughter that live, we all live in that area, within a half mile of the plant,” resident Dewey Magee said. “Very concerned about the things that they’re asking permission to emit.”

An attorney for Gulf Coast Growth Ventures told the hearing judge they believe in the public process but believe any delay will cost millions. A company spokesman provided a statement.

“We will commit to operating in such a way that ensures the safety of our employees, our people, the communities and of the environment itself,” said Jacob McAlister of Gulf Coast Growth Ventures.

The hearing judge promised to decide on a date for the ruling by early next week.

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