Port Arthur, TX – Port Arthur Community Action Network (PA-CAN) has secured a brighter future for Port Arthur residents through a recent settlement agreement with Motiva Enterprises LLC on the company’s plans to expand its Port Arthur refinery and operations. The resulting agreement was reached on January 21, 2020 after the community group withdrew its permit challenges with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regarding the company’s expansion plans, which include a Refinery Expansion, Terminal Expansion, Ethane Cracker, and a Polyethylene Plant for producing plastics.
Notably, the agreement will provide for a community planning process to create an Environmental Justice strategy for improving the health and environment of Port Arthur residents. In addition, an existing energy efficiency program will be expanded in order to make homes safer and healthier in this vulnerable city, where many community members are still struggling to restore their homes more than two years after Tropical Storms Harvey and Imelda inundated Port Arthur’s historic West Side.
Lone Star Legal Aid Environmental Attorney Colin Cox represented PA-CAN in negotiating the agreement, which includes:
- Development of a long-term Environmental Justice strategic plan for Port Arthur;
- Implementation of Environmental Justice projects identified through the community-driven strategic planning process;
- Expansion of the Lighthouse Program, an energy efficiency program of the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission funded through the U.S. EPA’s Supplemental Environmental Projects;
- Creation of a student mentoring program for industry-related and environmental jobs; and
- Business development workshops and a mentoring program for small minority-owned businesses in Port Arthur.
The expansion of the Lighthouse Program will not only engage in sustainable solutions to make residents’ homes safer and healthier, but will also employ Historically Underutilized Businesses in the Port Arthur area to carry out the work on residents’ homes.
Excited about the agreement, Chairman of PA-CAN, John Beard, said his community group plans to work in coordination with Motiva and community partner organizations to help shape the programs and ensure their success. “We look forward to collaborating with Motiva on these projects, which will work to improve the health and quality of life for community members in Port Arthur and Southeast Texas,” shared Beard.
Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.
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