Sierra Club, Environment Texas, and the National Environmental Law Center received a favorable settlement of $6 million from Shell Oil for violating the Clean Air Act. $2 million of the settlement will fund the East Harris County Solar Energy Pilot Program that will give two Houston high schools 800 solar panels. The settlement also requires Shell Oil to reduce emissions known as "upsets" from its Deer Park oil refinery and chemical plant by 80% over three years. The solar program includes three types of solar panels monitored for comparison through a web-based program in kiosks in the school foyers. The alternative energy system is projected to save the school district $15,000 per year.
The chemical, regulatory, and communications expertise contributed by our Lone Star Chapter helped achieve this victory. Dr. Neil Carmen, a chemist with the chapter, exposed the "upset emissions" violating the Clean Air Act and firmly participated in negotiations. Donna Hoffman, Communications Coordinator for the chapter, drew local, national, and international media attention.