Lawsuits claim Texas loopholes allow illegal air emissions

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - An environmental group has filed five federal lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to force it to alter Texas air pollution control permits that the group says have loopholes that allow for illegal emissions.

The suits filed Thursday by Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project target Texas-issued permits for the largest integrated petrochemical factory in the U.S.; three refineries near the Houston Ship Channel, including the largest petroleum refinery in the U.S.; and a coal-fired power plant east of Dallas.

The nonprofit earlier this month released an analysis of state records showing that Texas' environmental regulatory agency had imposed financial penalties in less than 3 percent of nearly 25,000 illegal air pollution incidents from 2011 to 2016.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality called the analysis "misleading."

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