ITC has history of environmental violations

HOUSTON,Texas (KTRK) -- The smoke billowing into the air so thick, even plant workers who grew up in the area say they can't remember a fire of this scale.

"That is very scary, they could go, could chain reaction, if they don't watch it," said one worker.

Yet, Monday morning, even after confirming seven storage tanks were burning, executives with Intercontinental Terminals Company, or ITC, downplayed the environmental impact.

"We continue to monitor the air quality in and around the area," said David Wascome, ITC spokesperson.

"At this time, (levels are) still within normal range, but we're still monitoring, " said Wascome.

Records show ITC has a long history of questionable environmental practices.

Environment Texas says the company has already released 3.1 million pounds of unauthorized emissions during this fire.

There were at least 39 unauthorized air releases since 2003.

ITC's been out of compliance with the Clean Air Act 9 out of past 12 quarters, including a 2016 cyanide release into the San Jacinto River basin 10 times the legal limit.

"I think just by looking behind me, this is not normal, this is not fine," said Corey Williams with Air Alliance Houston.

Williams said the chemicals burning now could impact the Houston area for weeks.

"This emission event of volatile organic chemicals is going to affect the region, not just in the immediate area," said Williams.

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