Refineries and petrochemical plants on the Gulf Coast have stopped production due to the Arctic air mass that has spread to the unusually low temperature region.
The extreme cold, which killed at least two dozen people in Texas and left more than 4 million people without electricity during the peak period, also affected gas and electricity generation, bringing the supplies needed to run the plants.
The closures caused the refineries to emit polluting gases, in order to avoid damaging the processing units. These emissions consisted of smoke that darkened the sky in East Texas for miles.
“These emissions far exceed conventional refinery emissions,” said Jane Williams, president of Sierra Club’s National Clean Air Team.
In her opinion, regulators need to change policies that allow “these massive emissions without penalty”
Emissions included benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfate and sulfur dioxide, according to preliminary data from the Texas Air Quality Commission.
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