Petrochemical Plant To Pay $50 Million Fine For Polluting Texas Waters

Barbara Schwarz
October 16, 2019 - 7:28 am
Lake, Lake Water,

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DALLAS (KRLD) - Formosa will pay $50 million to settle a lawsuit that accused them of dumping billions of plastic pellets into Lavaca Bay and Cox Creek near Victoria. It's the largest ever settlement brought by private individuals regarding the Clean Water Act. 

Diane Wilson, executive director of the San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeepers and fourth-generation Texas shrimper says Formosa has been dumping illegally since 1992. She and other citizens have been monitoring for the past four years and collected nearly 2,500 samples of pellets and plastic powders.

"The irony of it was is our main volunteers were former Formosa workers. These were guys that were shift supervisors. They ran the wastewater unit."

Wilson adds,  "I hope this becomes the standard for plastic facilities in the whole country.  Zero discharge because we got zero discharge."

That means if Formosa dumps illegally again, they'll have to pay into a trust that goes to local projects.

The $50 million settlement will be paid out over five years into a fund that will support projects that reverse the damage of water pollution in Texas’s Calhoun County.

According to a press release, some of those projects include:

$20 million for creating a cooperative that will revitalize depleted marine ecosystems and develop sustainable fishing, shrimping and oyster harvesting.

$10 million for environmental development of Green Lake park, the 2nd largest natural lake in Texas, into an environmentally sound public park.

$2 million to control erosion and restore beaches at Magnolia Beach.

$5 million for environmental research of San Antonio and Matagorda bay systems and river deltas that feed into them.

$1 million to support the "Nurdle Patrols" at the University of Texas’s Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, and to give scholarships to allow persons throughout the Gulf coast to attend Nurdle Patrol conferences.  The Nurdle Patrols are volunteer groups that collect plastic pellets, also known as nurdles, in order to document and research plastic pollution of the Gulf and its shores.

$750,000 to the YMCA for camps for children to study and learn how to be good stewards of the local marine environment.