By Jose Sigala, Field Manager for Moms Clean Air Force in Los Angeles and California's Central Valley
This week, Texas Governor Rick Perry made another visit to California in his continued crusade to entice businesses to relocate to the Lone Star State. Once again, Perry is making his stump-like pitch, highlighting his state’s low taxes and regulations and business-friendly climate, while touting the fact that no other state has created more jobs than Texas.
While that distinction is often disputed, Perry’s lack of effort to address climate change and poor air quality in his home state is not.
In fact, his neglect of major environmental concerns has helped Texas become one of the country’s worst polluters. The state ranks first in the nation for greenhouse gas emissions and worse yet- poor air quality is having a negative impact on children’s health. Kids age 0-4 with asthma are being admitted to the hospital up to eight times more than asthmatic adults in the state.
Moms across Texas and California urge Governor Perry to get his priorities straight and stop providing a pollution haven to corporations and prioritizing healthy profit margins over healthy communities.
A 2012 report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows Texas is responsible for 393 million metric tons or 12.5 percent of all greenhouse gases released nationwide, the most of any state by a large margin. In comparison, California is responsible for one-third as much, or 114.6 million metric tons.
Texas’s power plants and oil industry are a huge source of carbon pollution. This is pollution which leads to a number of climate-related health complications including asthma and heat-related illnesses.
Drought, heat waves, poor air quality, and wildfires continue to be a threat to the health of Texan families, and it’s no secret that California faces many of these same detrimental climate change effects. The difference, however, is that California’s leaders are moving forward with bold and innovative plans to address these impacts and protect public health – all while maintaining the world’s eighth largest economy and leading the nation in job growth.
This is a far cry from Governor Perry who continues to be a climate change skeptic. In fact, Governor Perry’s level of denial has intensified and his constant attack on climate-change science hasn’t slowed down.
It’s time for Governor Perry to face the truth and take the bold steps needed to address the growing levels of harmful air pollution in Texas. He should start by acknowledging the realities of climate change – and its accompanying negative impacts – and see that Clean Air Standards create opportunities, not problems for Texas.
Put simply, California’s moms have a message for Governor Perry: “Mess with Texas, not California.”
It’s time for you to return home and start holding your most polluting industries accountable for destroying Texas’ air and threatening your children’s health. Be a leader and stand tall against climate change, letting polluters know there is a new sheriff in town that means business when it comes to fighting for clean air and improving the state’s quality of life.
Sadly, based on Governor Perry’s record, that might be asking for a “Texas Miracle.”