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Keep Houston Press Free
4

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 of pollutants, including 931 pounds of hazardous air pollutants that "exceeded levels that are protective of human health."

That assertion was made in connection with a Feb. 2006 emissions event that released  22,283 pounds of volatile organic compounds over a five-day period.

Moreover, state regulators say BASF Fina failed to operate various components of its petrochemical plant within emissions limits 2,270 times from 2003 to 2006.

The Golden Triangle? How 'bout "The Dirty Triangle"?

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BASF yesterday was fined $203,125 for the violations found during routine inspections; half that fine will help poor folk in West Port Arthur weatherize their homes.

For its various environmental misdeeds -- which include 12 previous violations -- the company is still classified as "average" in complying with state regulations. Hair Balls has no idea what a petrochemical company has to do to achieve a "poor" classification.

-- Steve Olafson

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