The Texas Observer and Grist with The Investigative Fund: Too Big to Fine, Too Small to Fight Back

Number 28398
Subject Pollution
Source The Texas Observer
State
Year 2018
Publication Date February 21, 2018
Summary Citgo refineries spew thousands of tons of chemicals into the air, degrading air quality and putting human health at risk. Despite Citgo's revenues hitting north of $40 billion, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality lets the company off easy. For her investigation in The Texas Observer, in partnership with Grist and The Investigative Fund, Naveena Sadasivam dug into how the TCEQ has fined corporate polluters $30 million for air violations, not much more than the $24 million imposed on gas stations, a significant percentage of which are owned by immigrants, just for record-keeping errors. The disparity between TCEQ's treatment of mom-and-pop operations versus large corporations favors those with money and power. The agency rarely punishes big polluters, often because of a legal loophole, and when it does levy a fine, lawyers negotiate big reductions in penalties. As a result, environmental advocates and small business owners say there's a fundamental unfairness at work with the way TCEQ treats the businesses it regulates.
Category Contest Entry
Pages
Keywords The Texas Observer, The Investigative Fund, Grist, Citgo, refineries, chemicals, air quality, health, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, TCEQ, pollution, gas stations
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