Nonprofit organization issues 60-day notice to EPA after visit to Laredo

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tx. (KGNS) - An EPA visit to Laredo left many in the community wanting solutions and demanding action.

Residents of Laredo are desperate for answers after what they say was a disappointing visit from EPA.

A nonprofit organization is taking matters into their own hands issuing the EPA a 60-day notice to take action.

Raul Garcia with Earth Justice says there are no standards for air monitoring whatsoever.

“So, what we’re seeing is that the only data that we have about how much ethylene oxide is being put into the air is the data that the polluter itself is bringing to the table. So, I think that there’s an obvious conflict of interest”, said Garcia.

Garcia says the group is asking for EPA to bring good monitoring and limit emissions to a level that is not dangerous to the health of the community.

Ms. Martinez says her son who grew up close to Midwest Sterilization now has a brain tumor and has suffered with many ailments for the past 13 years.

“Right now, I’m letting the doctors know in San Antonio, because they don’t know how to treat him. And as per EPA on Thursday they gave us a website to look for environmental doctors that are more aware of what’s going on with those type of ailments that he’s going through. Because a lot of doctors don’t know the effects of ethylene oxide”, said Martinez.

While it has not been proven that ETO emissions caused his brain tumor, Martinez claims they have been affected enough, especially in a city medically limited.

“We’re so under served. We don’t even have doctors here. It’s hard for me, and it’s hard for my son.”, said Martinez.

Earth Justice says that while other entities have turned their back on Laredo, having City Council’s support is a step in the right direction.

“It’s unfortunate that TCEQ and the Texas State Government is so disconnected and that instead looks to protect the polluting industries as opposed to looking to its constituents and protecting them, so that’s very unfortunate. But just yesterday we saw a big step forward from the City of Laredo in terms of funding air monitors”, said Garcia.

Garcia says federal legislation requires EPA to have a set of rules for this set of chemicals which they have not delivered for the past eight years.

They hope this notice finally pushes them to give people in the community a much-needed solution.

KGNS reported a few weeks ago that attorney Victor Trevino also gave a notice to the EPA.

His 60-day deadline is October 17.

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