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Greenpeace and T.E.J.A.S. respond to Port Neches chemical plant explosion

by Perry Wheeler

November 27, 2019

Washington, DC – A chemical plant in Port Neches, TX exploded early this morning, damaging homes and injuring at least three workers at the facility. TPC produces butadiene, a key material used in the production of plastic, as well as other materials. Residents around the plant were evacuated. 

In response to this news, Yvette Arellano, Policy Research and Grassroots Advocate with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Service (T.E.J.A.S.) said: 

“This chemical fire is actively going 12 hours after the initial blast. The initial blast occurred at 1am as our communities were sleeping. They woke up to a fiery blast instead of a sunrise during the Thanksgiving holiday, with the blast blowing people’s doors open. This should not be anyone’s reality and unfortunately, it is for communities sitting at the fence-line of the petrochemical corridor along the Gulf Coast — an ever-growing corridor because of the billions of dollars being invested in petrochemical infrastructure related to plastic. 

“Families are evacuated or actively sheltered-in-place, which means locked in, sealing all windows and doors, and not allowed to go outside. Right now we have no information on the full slate of chemicals being released or the amounts. T.E.J.A.S. and CIDA (Community In-Power and Development Association) are actively reaching out to EPA for assistance and updates. This is the real cost of plastic.”

Greenpeace Research Specialist Ivy Schlegel added: 

“Residents near chemical plants should not have to fear for their lives or homes when an explosion occurs. Workers at chemical plants should not face injury or death to maintain our dependence on single-use plastics. Today’s TPC facility blast is yet another reminder of the way companies put lives at risk to produce a material that is polluting and harmful throughout its entire lifecycle. 

“Over the next few years, oil companies including Exxon, Shell, and BP are planning a massive expansion of petrochemical facilities to lock us into decades of more plastics. By rejecting single-use plastics and urging companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Starbucks, Target, and Walmart to end their reliance on plastics, we can help shut down dangerous facilities that are betting on continued demand for throwaway plastic. Plastics are dangerous, highly polluting, and not worth the incredible risk to people’s lives.” 

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Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, P: 301-675-8766

 

Perry Wheeler

By Perry Wheeler

Perry Wheeler is a senior communications specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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