If you've ever pondered how much pollution an oil refinery can spew out in 4,008 hours and 50 minutes when the gasoline-making process goes wrong, Valero Refining in Texas City has provided an answer:
-- 345,624 pounds of sulfur dioxide
-- 3,752.30 pounds of hydrogen sulfide
-- 63.30 pounds of of nitrogen oxides
Compared with other "emissions events" around Houston that Hair Balls has studied in recent years, the incident at Valero on Feb. 20, 2005, is impressive for its longevity and volume.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was fairly impressed, too. Yesterday it fined Valero $181,200, half of which will be spent to retrofit school buses to cut down on pollution.
-- Steve Olafson