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People in the neighborhood began to notice strange colors in the soil, strange phenomena with the plants of the region (like trees with fruit on only one side), and deaths of animals that happened to dig in the backyard. Residents fell ill, and began to wonder if there was a connection with the oil pits beneath their homes.The ensuing law suit, Houston John R. Simmons et al. v. Chevron U.S.A., was taken to the state district court on March 24, and became one of our nation's most well-known environmental justice cases.

The EPA performed tests on the site to determine the science behind the residents' claims. The City of Houston, as well as the City of HoustonTexas Water Commission and the Texas Rail Commission, also performed tests of their own. In its own defense, so did Chevron. Each test contradicted another one, but the EPA had its say and determined that the levels of surface methane and underground hydrocarbons were not enough to be detrimental to human heath. The court case ended in a $12 million settlement, allocated among Houston Heights residents based upon zoning.

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