Credit: Rob Dobi

Public Health Watch reporters often obtain government and other documents as part of their investigations into critical issues. In an effort to promote transparency and allow readers to examine original documents on their own, PHW is making many records available in digital, searchable form.

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Toxic Texas Air

Harris County Pollution

Harris County, Texas, is the epicenter of America’s petrochemical industry. Documents from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Harris County Pollution Control Services and the Texas Attorney General’s Office from 2015 to 2022 show how county officials try to hold polluters accountable — even as the state works to impede them.
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The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued just over 1,300 penalties for air-pollution violations between September 2015 and June 2022. Although the petrochemical industry has thousands of illegal releases each year, the TCEQ handed out only 462 fines for these “emissions events.”
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