America’s largest refineries have released tons of air pollutants into the skies over Texas this past week as the state is experiencing record colds and massive power outages and widespread dehydration due to blizzards.
According to Reuters, refineries and petrochemicals along the Gulf of Mexico coast of the United States frantically shut production when the arctic gas block spills over a large area unfamiliar with extreme cold weather.
|Snow covered the road in the city of Pflugerville, Texas. Photo: Reuters|
Record colds in decades have claimed the lives of at least 24 people in Texas and left more than 4 million without power at its peak. Extreme weather also negatively affects the production of electricity and natural gas, cutting off supplies needed to operate plants.
The shutdown resulted in refiners burning and releasing the gas to avoid damage to their refineries. That caused black smoke to cover the eastern Texas sky, visible from miles away.
Preliminary data submitted to the Texas Environmental Quality Commission (TCEQ) reveals that the five largest refineries in the past week emitted nearly 168.5 tons of pollutants, including benzene, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. sulfide and sulfur dioxide.
|Black smoke was rising from the refinery in Pasadena, Texas. Photo: Reuters|
Sharon Wilson, a researcher at the Earthworks environmental protection group, emphasized that the emissions that are many times higher than normal are alarming because of the danger to human health. This environmental crisis could make Texas face another catastrophe in addition to the deadly cold.
Texas is currently the hardest hit state, nearly falling into paralysis as winter blizzards swept across the US in the past week. AP statistics, as of February 20, nearly 70 people across the country have died from causes related to extreme weather.
President Joe Biden on 20/2 passed the declaration of a serious disaster and sent relief to 77 of the state’s 254 counties. Similar emergency statements have also been approved for the states of Oklahoma and Louisiana.
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