"Major polluter" in Pasadena taking heat

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Pasadena Refining System Inc. on Red Bluff Road is taking its share of questions over how it operates. 

"We certainly want to make sure that there are no violations and that going forward that there is responsibility and accountability," said Leticia Ablaza with Air Alliance Houston.

The non-profit joined other environmental and public health advocates expressing their concerns about the petroleum producing facility.  They claim the company is a "poorly managed, major polluter" and serious violator of clean air laws. 

"This facility has a regular history of very large pollution events," said Air Alliance Executive Director Adrian Shelley.

Citizens voiced their issues at a public hearing held by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as it considers PRSI's application for a federal operating permit. 

"We believe because it's a poorly managed facility, it allowed its federal air permit to lapse," said Shelley.

Louise Lanham lives just a few blocks away from the refinery. 

"I'm concerned about the health of my neighbors.  I have several that have emphysema and asthma. I'm concerned about it polluting our water system," she said.

Pasadena Refining System Inc. turned down our repeated requests for an on-camera interview, but briefly addressed these issues during the hearing.

"The last few years PRSI has improved safety and environmental results. PRSI has reduced flaring by over 80% since 2011," said Mark Burlinger with PRSI.

If and when a permit is issued by the TCEQ, the activists at the hearing Thursday night believe the company will need to be closely monitored.