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Duct Tape Holding Pollution Equipment Together: So Bad Even Texas AG Acts

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott took precious time off from suing the federal government to get it to stop forcing Texas to enforce Clean Air provisions in order to do a little Clean Air-ing of his own.

Abbott's office charged Gulf Chemical & Metallurgical Corporation with violating environmental standards.

How bad does a company have to be before Texas enforces antipollution laws? Pretty bad: Pollution equipment held together by duct tape at the Freeport plant, and inspectors from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality were made sick by overpowering ammonia fumes.

That'll get you noticed.

Says the AG:

GCMC regenerates metal catalysts for chemical and petrochemical refineries. According to court documents filed by the State, investigators with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found that GCMC's facility unlawfully emitted air pollutants such as ammonia, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide and various airborne metals. State investigators also discovered that GCMC unlawfully discharged wastewater that contained toxic and hazardous metals, including arsenic, cobalt and nickel. Soil samples tested near the defendant's facility revealed dangerous levels of toxic metals, including antimony, chromium and lead.

The ammonia-felled inspector wasn't the only one who had an interesting experience, the AG's office says. "Others were exposed to uncontrolled dust emissions that were hazardous wastes and to [sulfur dioxide] from the stack being tested," the office said. "When molten metal began spewing from the tested stack, the TCEQ determined to leave the Facility for safety reasons. One of Defendant's contractors testing the stack received modest burns from the molten emissions."

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