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Environmental advocates concerned as Flint Hills Resources seeks permit from TCEQ

Environmental advocates concerned as Flint Hills Resources seeks to obtain Federal Operating Permit
Posted at 4:35 PM, May 26, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Flint Hills Resources is seeking to obtain a Federal Operating Permit under the 1990 Clean Air Act from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This permit is needed for industrial facilities to operate under proper air pollution control requirements.

On Thursday night, environmental advocates addressed their concerns to a panel of officials with Flint Hills Resources and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Many of them feel questioned how a "high priority violator" should receive a permit.

"We really feel like they skirted regulations and the TCEQ has allowed them to sail right through," Jennifer Hillard, member of the Ingleside On The Bay Coastal Watch Association said.

The environmental groups and community members believed Flint Hills' recent practices have demonstrated neglect and harm to its surrounding communities.

"What we really want is that plant to be buttoned up," Ilan Levin, associate director of Environmental Integrity Project said."The oil spill that happened was something that never should have happened."

That spill Levin referred to was on December 24, 2022 when hundreds of gallons of crude oil was dumped into the Corpus Christi Bay.

Right now, Flint Hills Resources is looking to obtain this permit under the 1990 Clear Air Act for it's Ingleside LLC Marine Terminal in San Patricio County. They renewed this permit every five years in effort to meet environmental standards and reduce violations on air pollution.

The company said they've recently added advanced technology to their facility in order to monitor emissions more frequently.

"It’s effectively an early indication of any potential sources of emissions which has allowed us to respond much more quickly than traditional monitoring," Jake Rent, vice president of Public Affairs for Flint Hills Resources said.

However, some said in-depth monitoring should have been consistent all along. Environmentalists believed the actions of Flint Hills Resources towards the Christmas Eve oil spill was enough of an example for why the issuing of this permit should be reconsidered.

"The main thing that we’re asking the state regulators to do with this permit is to tighten up those pollution limits and make sure they are doing what they need to do to comply with those limits," Levin said.

KRIS 6 News reached out to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regarding these concerns. An official said a permit will be issued soon and they will respond to public concerns but did not elaborate on current or future monitoring plans.

For now, the community is still waiting for those concerns to be answered.

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