Texas Agency Opens Pathway for Formosa Plastics Expansion

Texas Environmental Agency Opens Pathway for Formosa Plastics Expansion

TCEQ issues new water use permit benefiting Formosa Plastics as company racks up millions in plastic pollution fines

POINT COMFORT – The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has issued a draft permit for the Lavaca Navidad River Authority (LNRA) to construct an off-channel reservoir on the property of Formosa Plastics. This 2,500 acre reservoir will largely serve two customers: the City of Corpus Christi and Formosa Plastics, making way for a future expansion at the Point Comfort facility.

Local fishing communities and environmental groups are concerned the Matagorda Bay system, which spans approximately 352 square miles, will be impacted by yet another destructive action to remove fresh water inflow and increase salinity in the bay. This environmentally sensitive area is important not only as an ecological resource, but also supports economically significant fisheries.

The plant has been the site of a recent 30-day hunger strike and months-long encampment led by Diane Wilson of San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper and the International Monitor Formosa Plastics Alliance. Activists from environmental justice groups including RISE St. James, Justice for Formosa Victims, and Friends of the Earth are committed to holding Formosa Plastics accountable to their ongoing pollution in Texas and around the world. 

Wilson stated, “For the sake of the health of Matagorda Bay and our fishing communities, it’s vital we stop the onslaught of plastic pollution. We should not allow more damage to the bay nor allow avenues for Formosa Plastics to expand their plastic heart any further. Enough is enough.”

In addition to those impacts, the nearby Formosa Plastics facility has a record of ongoing plastic pollution discharge into Lavaca Bay. In 2019, Formosa Plastics was fined $50 million in the largest Clean Water Act citizen suit in U.S. history. As part of the settlement, Formosa Plastics agreed to zero discharge of plastic from the facility. Since June 2021, however, they’ve faced 579 violations and have been fined over $15 million. Currently, their penalties are more than $1 million per month. 

During the public comment period, members of the public may contact TCEQ to voice opinions on the issue. To make a public comment and/or request a public meeting, visit https://www14.tceq.texas.gov/epic/eComment/ and enter WRPERM 13728. For more information, contact the TCEQ District Clerk’s office at 512-239-3300.

Communications Contacts: Erika Seiber, [email protected] // Dan Lê, [email protected] 

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