Materials Sector

  • Blogs

    November 14, 2014

    Two Companies Settle Over San Jacinto River Waste Pits, Jury Clears Lone Holdout of Liability

    Harris County's years-long legal battle to wring billions of dollars out of companies the county says are responsible for the San Jacinto River's toxic legacy ended with whimper Thursday. Following a four-week trial, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan's office settled with two of three defendants jus ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 17, 2014

    Harris County, Industrial Companies Meet In Court Over Toxic Waste Dump

    On Thursday Harris County attorneys went head-to-head with Fortune 500 companies they blame for polluting the San Jacinto River nearly 50 years ago. With $3.7 billion worth in penalties and attorneys' fees on the line, the county's opening statements in the long-awaited environmental enforcement t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2014

    San Jacinto Dioxin Case Kicks Off

    The trifecta of lawsuits filed against companies for allegedly dumping toxic paper waste into the San Jacinto River finally came to trial on Monday. Waste Management, International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation are accused of allowing dioxin, a "cancer-enhancer" chemical, to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 5, 2014

    Environmentalists Rally Around Lawsuit to Scrub San Jacinto Waste Pits

    As Houston corporate lobbyists fight a county lawsuit seeking to penalize companies for carcinogens plaguing the San Jacinto River, environmental groups have pledged to keep hounding their headquarters with angry rhymes. In 2011, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan sued Waste Management, Internatio ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 18, 2014

    How Close Is Your Child's School to a Dangerous Chemical Facility?

    It's hard enough worrying about your school-age child getting a good lunch, now you have to worry about how close their school is to a plant that handles dangerous chemicals. Reportedly, just under 100 schools in the area are within a mile of one of these facilities. In the map above, the orange do ... More >>

  • News

    December 26, 2013

    Toxic Time Bomb?

    Will the Next Hurricane Unleash the Dioxin-filled San Jacinto Superfund Site?

  • Blogs

    December 18, 2013

    Will the Next Hurricane Unleash the Dioxin-filled San Jacinto Superfund Site?

    Houston wasn't hit by a hurricane this season, but there are questions about what will happen to the San Jacinto Waste Pit superfund site the next time a hurricane roars through town. The highly toxic Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site has been sitting in the middle of the San Jacinto R ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2013

    County Attorney Vince Ryan's Dioxin Case is Back in State Court

    Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has made another bit of progress in the suit against a slew of companies who allegedly dumped a whole bunch of dioxin into the San Jacinto River back in the 1960s. Federal District Judge Lee Rosenthal sent the case back to state court for a jury trial. The jury wil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 26, 2013

    Court Says County Attorney Vince Ryan Can Sue For San Jacinto River Dioxin Pollution

    Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has got the go-ahead to continue his suit against a slew of companies for all the dioxin they allegedly dumped in the San Jacinto River back in the 1960s. Ryan's office called in outside counsel when they decided to sue International Paper Company, Waste Management ... More >>

  • News

    June 13, 2013

    Chemically Burned: Dow Chemical Tries to Avoid Hot Water in Worker's Death

    Brian Johns suffered chemical burns over 65 percent of his body in a Deer Park plant explosion. A representative of his company, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, tried to tell doctors Johns had just encountered some really hot water.

  • Blogs

    June 12, 2013

    Cover Story: Chemically Burned

    Brian Johns went to work on July 17, 2012 at the Rohm and Haas in Deer Park, just as he'd done for years. Johns was changing a filter in an ammonium nitrate unit when there was an explosion that covered his skin with acid so that more than 65 percent of his body was burned. The big disasters are t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 26, 2012

    Dioxin-contaminated Fish Still Being Hauled Out of the San Jacinto River -- And Eaten -- Vince Ryan Warns

    Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is asking for a quick trial date in the San Jacinto River Waste Pits case because people are still fishing the San Jacinto River and may be eating dioxin-contaminated fish. Ryan announced his action today saying that somehow, people haven't gotten the word about th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2012

    NFL Films President Steve Sabol (1942-2012): 5 Top Ways He Was An Innovator, Visionary, Storyteller

    ''Today of course those techniques are so common it's hard to imagine just how radical they once were. Believe me, it wasn't always easy getting people to accept them, but I think it was worth the effort.'' -- Steve Sabol in a 2011 interview with the Associated Press, discussing his and his father' ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 27, 2011

    Harris County Sues Over All That Dixon in the San Jacinto River

    Harris County attorney Vince Ryan announced he's suing a collection of companies for 45 years' worth of pollution in the San Jacinto River, and he's asking for up to $25,000 a day in penalties. Ryan is suing International Paper Company, Waste Management, Inc., Waste Management of Texas, Inc. and Mc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2011

    Kids Plant a Garden at Piney Point Elementary

    ​It was inspiring to watch a few hundred schoolchildren working furiously with trowels and hands, digging holes, planting flowers, bushes, fruit and vegetable seeds, and not tossing dirt on each other. That was the scene at the reconstructed Piney Point Elementary (Pagewood Lane at Fondren) a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 18, 2010

    Chevron Phillips Settles Suit Over Pollution At Baytown Plant, No Thanks To TCEQ

    Chevron-Phillips: The TCEQ wouldn't step in, so local groups did​After years of illegally emitting carcinogens and other toxic pollutants into the air, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company has agreed to a settle a lawsuit against it and clean up its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown."We can all breathe ea ... More >>

  • Calendar

    November 11, 2010
  • News

    September 16, 2010

    Beauty School Dropouts

    HISD might close cosmetology program.

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2010

    Greenpeace Says Dow's Freeport Chemical Plant Has Lousy Security

    You won't be smiling when the leak comes​Think all those toxic chemicals stockpiled at industrial plants around Houston are safe and secure? Well, think again.According to Greenpeace, the giant holding tanks and railroad cars full full of hazardous materials are ripe for disaster -- be it by terro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 26, 2010

    Bugs: There Are Two States Actually Buggier Than Texas

    It's a bug's life in Texas​Houston, as you slap your arms, face and neck while trying to enjoy a sunset, reassure yourself that things could be worse: You could be in Florida or Louisiana.Those two states are officially and somewhat scientifically more bug-infested than Texas, according to an indu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 17, 2010

    Fire At LyondellBasel Plant Won't Affect HISD

    Few details are available on the blaze right now​There's a smoky fire at the LyondellBasel plant southeast of town, and most educational experts that learning shouldn't take place next to a smoky fire at a chemical plant.As many as eight HISD schools could be affected by fumes, depending on which ... More >>

  • Calendar

    January 21, 2010

    Bubble Wrap Wonderweek

    Pop, pop, pop music

  • News

    December 17, 2009

    A Quiet Hell

    Thanks to lax enforcement by TCEQ, plants along the Houston Ship Channel launch tons of toxic gases into our air, and face little penalty even when they exceed pollution limits over and over again.

  • Blogs

    December 16, 2009

    The State's Environmental Watchdog Sucks

    ​Four years ago, Houston Mayor Bill White and his environmental policy director Elena Marks didn't think that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was doing a very good job enforcing pollution violations and keeping the area's oil refineries and chemical plants in check. The city had ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2009

    Dow Chemical Thankful It's In A Pollution-Loving State Like Texas

    The Dow Chemical Co. got whacked last week with a $202,325 fine for air pollution violations, but if we had to guess, we'd say the world's second-largest chemical company thanks its lucky stars it does business in a state like Texas, where a history of violations doesn't mean much.In calculating th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2009

    More Help (The Hard Way) For Retrofitting School Buses In Brazoria County

    Solutia Inc. is a "small business" in the overall scheme of things in the petrochemical universe, but the organic chemical production plant outside of Alvin managed to outdo the big boys on Wednesday when it racked up the biggest pollution fine of the week in our great state.For its achievement, So ... More >>

  • Calendar

    April 23, 2009
  • Blogs

    January 29, 2009

    Oldies, And Not Goodies, On The Pollution Front

    The wheels of environmental justice move ever so slowly. To call it a snail's pace would be an insult to mollusks everywhere. But it is what is, as we say in the parlance of our times, so now we have the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality assessing penalties against two local polluters for ... More >>

  • Calendar

    January 15, 2009

    Arbor Day Celebration

    Web exclusive!

  • Blogs

    December 11, 2008

    The "Golden" Triangle -- Pay No Attention To the Tons Of Pollutants

    In calculating the latest pollution fine levied against BASF Fina Petrochemicals LP in Jefferson County, state regulators made a note that might make residents of "The Golden Triangle" reconsider the nickname for their home.The Beaumont-Port Arthur area, documents say, has been exposed to 11.4 tons ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 26, 2008

    A Handy Guide To Terror Targets In Houston

    Sometimes it seems like organizations that want to protect Americans from terrorism end up doing all the terrorists' research for them. The Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank headed by John Podesta, formerly Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff, has compiled a handy guide to the nation' ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 20, 2008

    Point Comfort Alcoa Plant May Close

    The Alcoa plant in Point Comfort, about 125 miles from here, is a pretty massive operation: It can produce up to 2.3 million metric tons a year of alumina, which is the stuff from which aluminum is made. Now it may be shutting down. An Australian newspaper (an Australian company partners with Alco ... More >>

  • Calendar

    November 20, 2008
  • Blogs

    November 6, 2008

    Formosa Plant Keeps On Polluting

    The pollution record of a Taiwanese company's largest polyvinyl chloride plant in the U.S. just got worse. The Formosa Plastics Corp. facility in Point Comfort, Texas, yesterday was fined $121,443 by state regulators for numerous air violations and unauthorized emissions in 2005 and 2006. It's the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2008

    Ike Brings On The Pollution

    Hurricane Ike still may miss the petrochemical heart of the upper Texas Coast, but it's already taking a toll around here, both in lost product and environmental-wise. Four plants near Houston have begun shutdown procedures, so the flares will be burning over the next several days and nights, and m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 1, 2008

    Port Arthur Shares The Polluting Load

    Complain if you like of the pollution emanating from industries that line the Houston Ship Channel, but this week a petrochemical manufacturing plant in Port Arthur stakes its claim as one of the state's top-dog environmental scofflaws. BASF FINA Petrochemical Limited Partnerships has gotten whacke ... More >>

  • Calendar

    July 27, 2006
  • Best of Houston

    September 23, 2004
  • Culture

    April 22, 2004

    Garden of Good and Evil

    Rachel Carson's environmental quest gets surreal at Main Street Theater

  • News

    April 22, 2004

    Carrying the Torch

    Rangers get fired up over Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative

  • Calendar

    January 9, 2003

    Bill Minutaglio

    Friday, January 10

  • Music

    August 1, 2002

    Keep On Truckin'

    Two Tons of Steel has gone from cover band to kings of the Texas dance hall

  • News

    April 18, 2002

    Going off the Rails

    A proposed line into the Bayport Industrial District has residents from Clear Lake to the East End vowing to stop the "toxic train" in its tracks

  • Best of Houston

    September 20, 2001
  • News

    May 3, 2001

    Green Port?

    A Port suit accuses several companies of contaminating its land for decades

  • News

    December 28, 2000

    Fish Tales

    Rayburn's bass diminish as debates continue over pollution discharges

  • Music

    June 22, 2000

    Retro Active

    Two Tones of Steel

  • News

    December 17, 1998
  • News

    July 24, 1997

    Toxic Leak?

    Texas City petrochemical giants scramble to discover who released their secrets

  • News

    August 1, 1996

    Among Friends

    Buster Brown's financial disclosure includes an interesting omission -- and addition

  • More >>