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The oil industry’s carbon capture plan won’t help Texas’ most polluted communities

The Greening of a City Built on Oil
Pedestrians walk through Charles H. Milby Park in front of a refinery in Houston, Texas, on Sunday, March 8th, 2020.  | Image: Sharon Steinmann/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A controversial tactic for slowing climate change is picking up steam in Texas: capturing carbon dioxide emissions from smokestacks. While that might reduce CO2 emissions heating up the planet, it could pose new problems for communities already saddled with industrial pollution.

Oil giant Occidental announced late last week that it leased 55,000 acres along the Gulf Coast of Texas to build out a hub for carbon capture technologies. The idea is to capture carbon dioxide emissions from nearby chemical plants, refineries, and factories. That CO2 then travels via pipeline to underground storage sites within Occidental’s proposed hub.

The prospect of these new kinds of pipelines crisscrossing through communities already has some e…

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