There is an old saying that “sometimes bad things happen to good people.” Well this can also be said of businesses, such as the case with ExxonMobil’s Baytown Olefins Plant when on July 31 an unfortunate incident happened to a great company. Anyone who thinks ExxonMobil doesn’t care about the safety and well-being of their employees, contractors and the community has not paid attention to the investment, both financially and service wise, the company has made in Baytown. The recent expansion at BOP was well beyond $3 billion, which adds value to the facility and contributes to the amount ExxonMobil will pay the City of Baytown in additional taxes.  This allowed a recent property tax reduction to residents of Baytown.

Although Baytown was not the official name of our community at the time Humble Oil began operations here, we will soon celebrate a 100 year partnership with ExxonMobil. During these 100 years, ExxonMobil employees have been involved in building great community to live and work. As a member of City Council, over the years I had the privilege of getting to know a good number of the ExxonMobil plant managers and they are all the cream of the crop when it comes to leadership. The current BOP Manager, Jason Duncan is certainly no exception.  Jason is involved in the Baytown community as exemplified during the recent Rotary Club (of which he is a member) Shrimp & Catfish Festival where he and his two teenage children served those in the community who bought food tickets. There are endless examples of other ExxonMobil employees serving in the Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, and the countless other service organizations that do great things in our community.

These organizations have members who operate the ExxonMobil complex and know ExxonMobil’s commitment to operating a safe and environmentally sound operation. Before my retirement, I spent 23 years as the health, safety and environmental manager for an industrial neighbor of ExxonMobil. Over the years I have served on numerous industrial committees with ExxonMobil safety and environmental professionals and have full confidence that this past incident will be investigated to the fullest. I also know that information gained from the investigation will be shared not only with other ExxonMobil facilities, but with the petrochemical industry to help other companies avoid such an unfortunate incident.

It is a shame that the Harris County Attorney’s office finds a need to grandstand by filing a lawsuit before the company has had the opportunity to determine the cause of the incident. ExxonMobil operates under a Federal Operating Pemit and as such is subject to both state and federal environmental regulations. Rock Owens, the head lawyer for Harris County should use taxpayer money more wisely and concentrate on finding the less obvious environmental violations.  

We are grateful to have ExxonMobil as a community neighbor and look forward to a great partnership that will continue for many years to come.

Terry Sain



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(3) comments

Alan H

Mr Sain, gimme a break. You know why the Harris Co DA filed a lawsuit. It's to protect the evidence which sometimes is not reported accurately to lame government agencies such as TCEQ. You also know as a former Councilman that EXXON pays no sales tax and an extremely low tax rate because it is located on property within an industrial district agreement which is nothing more than a tax loophole. EXXON has a long history of dumping tons of cancer-causing pollutants on Baytiwn citizens. Many citizens are deeply grateful to outside agencies who sue EXXON to protect us from getting We all know our own city officials are too afraid to sue EXXON even when it's clear local laws are violated. Baytown is home to EXXON and home to the largest cancer walk Relay for Life. Coincidence?


Alan, some people very conveniently turn a blind eye because they have their own agenda. It is unfortunate that here in Baytown industry is afforded more rights (and far more leniency) than the average citizen.

There is no doubt EXXON creates a lot of jobs. It also generously compensates the City with many types of donations and in-kind payments.

On the other hand, EXXON also creates a lot of grief that goes unchecked. That grief not only goes unchecked it goes unspoken about by the majority of people in positions of leadership.

People are remarkably adept at convincing themselves of all sorts of realities as we witness everyday. Public figures like Mr. Sain will never confront what they cannot or will not see. That's why communities grow watchdogs such as Jackie Young. We need more of those concerned citizens speaking out, speaking up and running for office. Rather than the same old same or in this case the Sain old Sain. We need "balanced change". 😊

Doubtful you will see Mr. Sain post a salute thanking the citizens of Baytown for supporting the City of Baytown despite its poor health record. No doubt Mr. Sain has served the City and we thank him for that. Being on Council is no easy undertaking. That’s why so many incumbents go unopposed.

Yet, we also recognize council members benefit indirectly from their service as hard as that service can be sometimes. I just wish more of that service included looking squarely at all sides of the coins and not just the currencies that line pockets with money. Because in the end no amount of money can buy back health, making happy memories or peace of mind once it is gone!

Alan H

Amen to that, LCL. Mr Sain says there's no doubt EXXON will self-investigate its fire and pollution and will be open and honest with the public. Does Sain not know about EXXON's research into climate change from burning fossil fuels? EXXON knew about climate change and the resulting rising global temperatures 40 years ago but tried to deny, hide and confuse the issue publicly using the same sinister strategies adopted by tobacco companies who told us smoking cigarettes was cool.

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