Houston community demands transparency on Valero’s pollution - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Houston community demands transparency on Valero’s pollution

Posted: Updated:

HOUSTON (KYTX) -- Residents of the Houston neighborhood of Manchester are demanding today that the Valero refinery, which has been polluting the air surrounding their homes for decades, reveal exactly what toxins it is forcing residents to breathe. Community members were joined by Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey Jr., who have committed to an indefinite hunger strike until Valero agrees to divest from the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which is linked to environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Canada. Today marks the 29th day of their sustained strike. 

The event culminated with a rally and protest outside the Valero refinery that has been forcing local residents to breathe poisonous, cancer-causing chemicals for decades. Community members, organizers, Bob and Diane marched to a neighborhood park that sits in the shadow of the Valero smokestack, carrying a banner that read, "We demand to know what you are forcing us to breathe."

"I have trouble breathing, a really bad cough and asthma. It feels like I can't breathe, it's really scary," said Yudith Nieto, a Houston resident who grew up in the Manchester neighborhood. "You feel helpless and you can't understand why something like this is happening to you."

For years residents have been purposefully misinformed and disproportionately exploited for Valero's benefit. The Manchester community has suffered through decades of premature deaths, cancers, asthma and other diseases attributable to the refinery emissions. 

"Theirs is an unending war and Valero has the weapon of destruction," said Diane Wilson, who has spent decades working to expose how the Texas petrochemical complex has been covering up spills and dumping lethal chemicals into bays along Gulf Coast. "A popular motto of the unions was that an injury to one is an injury to all. Well, make no mistake: Manchester is being harmed."

Community groups Tar Sands Blockade and TEJAS have been actively organizing a campaign of growing resistance in Manchester, highlighted most recently when Gulf Coast activists Wilson and Lindsey Jr. began a sustained hunger strike on November 29th, after locking their necks to tanker trucks destined for the Valero refinery.

"Manchester is a living example of environmental racism," said María Jiménez, TEJAS board member and life-long resident of Houston's East End. "Today segregation means the unequal impact of air, water, and noise pollution on historically marginalized communities. Whether it's the immediate health effects or the long term chronic illnesses, Manchester suffers while Valero pursues record profits."

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • East Texas mother's bond set at $2 million dollars in daughter's death

    East Texas mother's bond set at $2 million dollars in daughter's death

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:30 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:30:22 GMT
    UPDATE: An East Texas mother's bond is now set at $2 million dollars. Stacie Marie Parsons was arraigned in the Henderson Co. jail this morning. She is charged with the capital murder of her 4 year old daughter.More >>
    UPDATE: An East Texas mother's bond is now set at $2 million dollars. Stacie Marie Parsons was arraigned in the Henderson Co. jail this morning. She is charged with the capital murder of her 4 year old daughter.More >>
  • ‘Operation Coyote’ targets human smuggling networks

    ‘Operation Coyote’ targets human smuggling networks

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:43:13 GMT
    photo: (ICE)photo: (ICE)
    WASHINGTON (KYTX) — In a news conference Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, joined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol and U.S. Deputy Attorney General announced the progress of ongoing enforcement efforts by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Justice to target human smuggling networks in the Rio Grande Valley.More >>
    WASHINGTON (KYTX) — In a news conference Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, joined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol and U.S. Deputy Attorney General announced the progress of ongoing enforcement efforts by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Justice to target human smuggling networks in the Rio Grande Valley.More >>
  • Yantis man indicted after admitting to having sex with 12-year-old girl on school playground

    Yantis man indicted after admitting to having sex with 12-year-old girl on school playground

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:05 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:05:14 GMT
    photo: Wood Co. Jailphoto: Wood Co. Jail
    QUITMAN (KYTX) – A Wood County Grand jury has indicted a Yantis man on child sex abuse charges.More >>
    QUITMAN (KYTX) – A Wood County Grand jury has indicted a Yantis man on child sex abuse charges.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.