STAR Coalition town hall set for March 21, Bruni HS auditorium

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The STAR Coalition, which has organized in opposition to the proposed Raven Petroleum refinery in the tri-county area of Duval, Webb, and Jim Hogg, will host a town hall meeting Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. in the Bruni High School auditorium.

A panel of experts who have firsthand experience working with or living near oil refineries will address the meeting and answer questions. They are Dr. Neil Carman, Clean Air Program director of the Texas Sierra Club, Austin; Hilton Kelley, an environmental activist from Port Arthur; Yudith Nieto of the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s), Houston; and Allen Messenger, an environmental engineer, Austin.

Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina, who has withdrawn his support from the project, will provide opening remarks. Webb CISD Board president Robert Marshall and board member Amy Marshall will speak to concerns about the proposed refinery’s proximity to Bruni High School and the middle school.

“I hope everyone takes advantage of the information that the industry experts and the victims of oil refineries are planning to provide,” said Tom Benavides, Bruni resident and STAR founding member. “There has been a thick ‘smokescreen’ of misinformation and half-truths laid down by Raven Petroleum and its supporters backed by no information. This is a chance for people to arm themselves with factual information against those who seek to do them harm.”

To date, Raven has not filed a permit application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), nor has the company disclosed its funding sources or any economic, environmental, or public health assessments.

Last month, legitimacy concerns were raised when Raven Petroleum lifted verbatim a Canadian refinery’s website and published identical claims of becoming the “cleanest refinery model in the world” and having “near net zero carbon emissions.”

Since Raven and its founder Christopher Moore have not been open with any specifics about the proposed refinery, serious questions continue to arise as to the company’s credibility and its claim that the proposed project does not pose serious environmental risks for South Texas.

Bruni High School is at 619 Avenue F. For further information on the meeting, call the Rio Grande International Study Center (a STAR Coalition member) at (956) 718-1063.

STAR, the acronym for South Texans Against the Refinery, is a coalition of residents, ranches, landowners, and organizations who are concerned that the proposed Raven refinery will cause harmful air pollution, threaten local water supplies, and disrupt area wildlife for generations to come.

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