HOUSTON - Environmentalists gather in southeast Houston cause they've got a bone to pick with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.
“The EPA seems to be very pro industry, and is not pushing the envelope,” said Juan Parras , with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS).
“This is the area that Pruitt should be coming. Especially in light of the damage to this area after Hurricane Harvey, says Rosanne Barone, with Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE)
Administrator Pruitt was scheduled to speak at the Texas Oil and Gas Association 2017 Lone Star Energy Forum in The Woodlands Thursday evening.
The main concern of the activist group comes down to where Pruitt spends his time, and who he spends it with.
“Mr. Pruitt should be coming here, where the pollution is at, where the refineries are at, where the people are getting sick,” explained Patricia Gonzales, with Caring for Pasadena Communities.
To Pruitt’s credit, the new head honcho at the EPA did personally examine the San Jacinto Waste Pits, later signing an order to remove those toxic dioxins from the Channelview site.
You'd think that might buy him a little good will. Not so much.
“We're happy that the San Jacinto Waste Pits are receiving the remediation but they are in a predominantly white area that's fairly well resourced. Our low resourced minority majority communities don't have that kind of clout,” expressed Yvette Arellano, with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS).
“I have to wonder is he afraid of the center of the City of Houston? Because he went to some outlining area, but you didn't come into Houston which is the largest metropolitan area in the state of Texas,” said Joetta Stevenson, with Fifth Ward Super Neighborhood Civic Club.
We reached out for comment to the EPA and the Texas Oil and Gas Association, but neither responded.
And whether Pruitt will even speak at the event is now up in the air, as his name was removed from the itinerary overnight.
Whether the pressure from planned protests worked, or he simply had bigger fish to fry, that's anybody's guess.