A skyline of smokestacks appears on the horizon before the rest of Corpus Christi does. Approaching Texas’ “Sparkling City by the Sea” on I-37, a palm-tree-lined highway running from San Antonio to the Gulf Coast, it’s tough to tell where the billowing exhaust from oil refineries ends and the rain clouds begin. Massive storage domes, tangles of pipes, and burning flares reach into the sky, and a potpourri of gasoline, sulfur, and unidentified chemical-burning smells fill the air.

In Texas, it’s normal to see an oil refinery or a petrochemical plant as big as a football stadium, with another one behind it, and another one behind that. And it’s just as normal to see a neighborhood in the shadows of those massive polluters.

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Photo Credit: Rahim Fortune/Rolling Stone