News Roundup: Texas Suing Intercontinental Terminals Company For Violating Texas Clean Air Act

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 25, 2019 12:54 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The state of Texas is suing the Houston-based company whose petrochemical facility caught fire last week, which burned for days.

The blaze at the Intercontinental Terminals Company site prompted the city of Deer Park to order residents to shelter in place on two occasions. A handful of local school districts also cancelled classes for several days.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this past Friday. It alleges the air pollution released during the fire violates the Texas Clean Air Act.

Paxton said in a statement, “No company can be allowed to disrupt lives and put public health and safety at risk.”

Some of the U.S. Border Patrol’s inland highway checkpoints in West Texas and New Mexico have closed recently. Marfa Public Radio’s Mitch Borden reports agents are being reassigned from their normal duties to help deal with the rising number of asylum seekers crossing the U.S. southern border.

U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints that normally stop drivers along highways near El Paso are closed. That’s according to U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar. The checkpoint closures extend into New Mexico, and are a part of an effort for Custom and Border Protection personnel, including Border Patrol agents, to help deal with the rising number of asylum seekers coming into the country.

Cuellar says: “They’re being taken away from their traditional work that they do at checkpoints or cargo inspection and they are being taken to address the asylum seekers.”

In the last month, the Border Patrol apprehended around 500 people a day illegally crossing into its El Paso Sector. According to a CBP spokesperson, highway checkpoints are important to keeping the border secure, and closures are intended to be temporary.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas will be taking a look at airline safety this week. Cruz chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space.

The hearing comes in the wake of the deadly plane crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people earlier this month, and the subsequent grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the United States.

Cruz discussed the issue on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Texans are on planes all the time; we need to have the confidence when we get on a plane that there isn’t a problem, mechanical system or software system, that endangers the lives of passengers,” Cruz said.

The hearing is set for Wednesday, and the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration is scheduled to appear.

Two Texas teams, Texas Tech and the University of Houston, made it to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. This is the first time the UH Cougars have reached this round in over 30 years. Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson discussed the game after Sunday’s win over Ohio State.

“Our program is built on, on competing and playing with a chip, and never loosing that chip – that’s important,” Sampson said in a press conference.

March Madness for men’s basketball picks up again Thursday.