Statement of Stephanie Thomas, Researcher and Organizer for Public Citizen’s Texas Office
Note: Today the Texas House of Representatives released interim charges for the 86th legislature. The Environmental Regulation Committee’s charges include a duty to “review the industry standards” for above-ground petrochemical storage tanks. This is likely a response to a series of chemical incidents this year involving storage tanks, and the widespread tank failures after Hurricane Harvey.
Just days after the Trump Administration rolled back the federal Chemical Safety Rule, the Texas House of Representatives is signaling that it will examine the issue of petrochemical storage tank safety. If the Trump administration won’t act to protect Texans from petrochemical dangers, the Texas Legislature must.
Twenty storage tanks failed during the tremendous rainfalls of Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda, and above-ground storage tanks also played a role in several chemical disasters in the Houston area this year. Unregulated storage tanks present a danger to Texans – and it is time for Texas lawmakers to address their potential harm to communities. This interim charge will give them the information they need to tackle the issue of unsafe, polluting petrochemical storage tanks.