Chemical Ken Paxton Shields Corporations from Justice

AG Paxton’s First Move on Texas Chemical Fire was to Shield Corporations from Justice
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on email

Two times in two weeks, dangerous chemical fires have raged in Harris Countykilling one man, badly injuring others and lifting a toxic chemical cloud over the Houston region.  School kids have been forced to “shelter in place” with air conditioning shut down. Citizens have been told to remain inside their houses to avoid danger to their health.

New County Officials Act Quickly to Keep Citizens Safe

Local Harris County officials – led by newly elected County Judge Lina Hidalgo and her fellow Democrats on the Commissioners Court, Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia – moved quickly to mobilize county resources to limit the damage and keep citizens safe.  Their actions are particularly impressive given that during the previous two decades of Republican control, the county failed to adopt a chemical emergency plan of any type.

Paxton’s Legal Moves Help Chemical Companies NOT Texans in Harm’s Way

As the fires raged in Houston, it became clear that AG Ken Paxton was most concerned about protecting the chemical companies whose negligence led to roaring fires and chemical clouds.  

County-level legal action would push for companies to fully disclose the danger of their facilities and make the structural and operational changes needed to keep surrounding communities safe.  However, rather than work constructively through local county officials to hold polluters accountable, Paxton quickly filed suit himselflocking up legal jurisdiction and blocking county leaders from taking more aggressive actions.    

Paxton can now act as a “friendly plaintiff” who is only technically in opposition to the companies.  He can agree to a settlement with a relatively small fine and little or no safety reforms. Also, expect Paxton to waive any punitive damages, which is one of the few ways to apply enough economic pressure to force companies to make major changes in their facilities and operations.  

Paxton Following the Texas GOP Pro-polluter Pattern

Most coverage of Ken Paxton has focused on his extreme Trump Party Republican ideology and the fact that he’s the only statewide elected official in the nation serving while under felony criminal indictment.  However, there’s certainly nothing surprising about Paxton stepping in to shield chemical companies. He’s simply following the polluter protection plan established by his predecessor Greg Abbott.

Related Reports

Fight Back with Facts

Together we can bring back responsible leadership to texas.