This type of thing happens over and over in the energy business. Decade after decade plants try to save money by squeezing every last drop of production they can out of existing infrastructure. Then BOOM, and after enough of them, the industry decides, “You know, we really should do those repairs now”.
I think what is holding industry back from those major repairs is the current political environment: Trump Impeachment Proceedings. Everyone knows that Trump will protect the energy business, but the fury of the Democrats is making everyone a little nervous. What if the Democrats succeed at impeachment and they win in 2020? What if someone like Janet Reno becomes EPA Czar and runs a tank into your plant, then says they are doing this to protect you?
I think what a lot of people do not know is that Trump will not be removed from office by impeachment – the Senate will never approve it. It also appears that Trump is still strong among his 2016 base voters, and is gaining strength. More than likely, he will be reelected in 2020.
So, I hope these manufacturing facilities put their worries behind them and just start spending that money. Meanwhile, here is the official press release from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regarding fines placed on the Port Neches plant owned by TPC Group.
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 – Includes penalty of $214,388 against TPC Group, LLC
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $451,862 against 16 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.
Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: four air quality, one Edwards Aquifer, one industrial hazardous waste, three municipal wastewater discharge, three petroleum storage tank, two public water system, one waste disposal wells, and one water quality.
Included in the total is a fine of $214,388 against TPC Group, LLC, for air quality violations stemming from its failure to comply with allowable emissions limits. As part of a Supplemental Environmental Project, $107,194 will be used by the Houston-Galveston Area Council to replace older, higher-emission buses with new lower-emission buses, or to retrofit old buses with emissions-reducing equipment.
In addition, on Jan. 29, the executive director approved a total of 22 penalties, totaling $52,109.