Flaring in Eagle Ford Shale Source: flickr.com/photos/earthworks
The Texas Tribune recently published a piece debunking some of the science behind the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) position on the national health standard for ozone – one of the most ubiquitous and harmful air pollutants on the planet. As outlined in the agency’s latest newsletter, TCEQ’s Director of Toxicology, Mike Honeycutt, questions the health benefits of a stronger standard, even though public health experts across the country have been calling for a more protective standard for years. What’s more disappointing than the agency’s apparent anti-health position, however, is the lack of attention to other legitimate air pollution issues in Texas.
It would seem that the agency must have a surplus of staff, as well as unlimited resources to establish such an aggressive position on a standard that hasn’t been proposed yet. The reality is that there are so many more important things that the agency could and should be doing to serve and protect Texas citizens from real air pollution threats, including: Read More »
EDITOR'S NOTE: The final draft report was released May 24. Download the PDF here.
A soon-to-be released key flare emissions report could help answer the question of why Texas air toxics concentrations are higher than those reported through industrial emission inventories.
Footage of flare emissions captured by advanced monitoring technology at facility in Texas. The video was presented by TCEQ at the Hot Air Topics Conference on Jan 13, 2011 in Houston, TX. Flare is described as being oversteamed, resulting in reduced destruction efficiency and increased emissions.
Across the state, there are 1,500 flares registered with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The “flaring” or burning of excess gases using these flares has been accepted industrial practice for combusting routine waste gases as well as for combusting large volumes of gases that may result from plant emergencies, such as those that could lead to a facility explosion. Air quality experts have long held that an increase in flare pollution has been a significant contributing factor in escalating smog levels and toxic “hot spots,” particularly in fenceline communities. Read More »
Our first post to Texas Clean Air Matters offers a 12-step program to TCEQ for cleaning up air pollutant hotspots around the state (and not just because it's Earth Day, but if it helps promote the cause, we'll take it).
1. Identify that we have a problem with toxic air pollutants.
As with other 12-step programs, the first step toward recovery is admitting that there's a problem. Texas, we have a problem: It's called "hotspots." The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently released the 2009 Air Pollutant Watch List (APWL) report, which outlines areas around the state where pollution levels for one or more toxic compounds exceeds the state’s health-based levels of concern, referred to as "effects screening levels" or ESLs. Some of the pollutants within these hotspot areas can cause cancer, birth defects, or even death. Read More »