Guest post by our friend, Bryan Parras of T.E.J.A.S. (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Service). This video contains startling aerial footage of the refinery communities in Houston that are meant to bear the disproportionate pollution of toxic tar sands refining from Keystone XL southern segment.
The Manchester neighborhood in Houston is completely surrounded by Valero, Texas Recycling, a car crushing facility, the Port of Houston, Highway 610, a rail yard and a waste water treatment plant. These are aerial video of the Manchester community that my dad, Juan Parras, took a few years ago. The area in green is of course Manchester. The third image is a shot of the Houston Ship Channel. You can see the extent of industry’s concentration here in the “Petro-Metro.”
As if this isn’t bad enough, another industrial pollution threat is looming, one that could stretch all the way across the middle of the United States. President Obama is deciding soon whether to approve a pipeline that would stretch from Canada to Houston.
TEJAS has done work over the last year in collaboration with the Sierra Club and others to bring attention to the Keystone XL pipeline. We do not support extraction of the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, we do not support a cross-national pipeline and we certainly do not support it being refined in a community that is already inundated with industry.
The other community that the pipeline is destined for is Port Arthur. Hilton Kelley, who recently won the Goldman Award for his environmental justice work, has come out against the pipeline. The community in Port Arthur is similarly overburdened with petrochemical plants and refineries.
The petrochemical industry is green-washing the tarsands in Canada, calling it “Ethical Oil”. Of course, we are all smarter than that. This pipeline, if built, would be absolutely devastating to Manchester and Port Arthur, not to mention neighbors of the tarsands in Canada, and countless communities in between.