Oct 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
on Friday said it would investigate the Texas air regulator over
allegations of racial bias in rulings involving pollution in
Black neighborhoods by a refinery waste recycler.
The agency accepted a complaint against the state over its
oversight of Port Arthur, Texas-based Oxbow Calcining, which
produces petroleum coke from oil refinery byproducts.
An environmental advocacy group has alledged the state's air
quality regulator violated residents' civil rights by allowing
the plant to operate without a scrubber to capture sulfur
dioxide. Between 2016 and 2019, the plant released about 22
million pounds per year of sulfur dioxide, an eye and lung
A spokesperson for the state regulator Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality said it had no immediate comment.
I am encouraged by the response of the EPA to investigate
our concerns," said John Beard, a former Port Arthur city
councilor and founder of advocacy group Port Arthur Community
The Oxbow Calcining plant is located in a predominately
Black area with 98% of the residents within a three mile radius
classified as people of color and 62% as lower income, the group
(Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by David Gregorio)