8M pounds of pollutants released before and after Hurricane Laura but air quality monitors were taken offline

HOUSTON – As Hurricane Laura barreled toward the Gulf Coast a few weeks ago, in and around Houston, plants and refineries scrambled to shut down.

Once the coast was clear, those same plants and refineries needed to restart. Part of that process includes more rigorous flaring which is the burning off of excess chemicals.

“Flaring is an approved way to safely relieve pressure during a unit shutdown,” said a statement from East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA).

The unfortunate by-product of flaring is more pollution.

During the shutdown and restart process surrounding Hurricane Laura, energy companies reported to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) that 8 million pounds of emissions were released in Harris, Brazoria, Jefferson and Orange counties.

Some of those emissions included carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide: pollutants and irritants.