Texans don’t always associate clean air with major urban areas, and for good reason. The heavy industrial activity, electric power plants, and vehicular traffic in big cities all combine to create ground level ozone, commonly known as smog. Increased ozone and smog has known negative impacts on human health, including causing asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates ozone and sets guidelines for when a city is in compliance with air quality standards. Currently, San Antonio is technically in compliance with EPA ozone standards, but only by a quirk in how the agency’s compliance timelines work. A closer look actually shows the city has the second worst air quality of any urban area in Texas – second only to Dallas/Fort Worth.
The correlation between ozone and public health has spurred EPA to revise and strengthen its national ozone standards. If San Antonio continues with business as usual, it’s clear local air quality and public health will continue to suffer, and San Antonio will be officially designated as non-compliant with EPA standards. Read More
Sharing freight information can help build relationships with others.
Leaders in the freight transportation industry may not realize it, but they probably learned an invaluable lesson for success when they were in kindergarten: learning to share is important.
After all, the interconnected world we live in today requires businesses to be accountable not only to shareholders and customers, but to other partners in the supply chain and to the communities living nearby. Whether disclosing the impacts to human health and the environment associated with goods movement, or implementing solutions to mitigate those impacts, sharing information can help build relationships with others, benefiting the overall supply chain. Read More
EPA's new mapping and screening tool will help advance environmental justice.
EPA is getting into the mapping game in a big way.
Just this week, they launched an environmental justice (EJ) mapping and screening tool called EJSCREEN, an online, publicly accessible index of environmental indicators based on location. It will be a tremendously helpful resource for the EJ movement.
In the past, concerned citizens, researchers, and advocates would access national databases individually without the ability to bring multiple sources of information together in one clear and consistent platform. EJSCREEN was created to address that issue. It’s a significant milestone that puts environmental and demographic data at your fingertips and empowers you to learn about your community. Read More
I examined in the past how some of our state’s most prominent statewide politicians are acting against Texas interests by opposing the upcoming Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Now I’m not one to exclude anyone from the spotlight, so I thought I’d shine some attention on State Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford), who also recently spoke out against the CPP.
Phil King has been a member of the Texas House of Representatives since 1998, so one may assume he is well-versed in Texas and what makes sense for the state. But although he was elected to serve the people of Weatherford, Texas, this isn’t the only group he represents. Not only is he a prominent member of the fossil fuel-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), headquartered outside of D.C. in Arlington, VA, Rep. King was recently appointed the National Chair of this shadowy organization.
His senior position with and involvement in ALEC makes me question: when he dismisses and denies the benefits of the CPP, is Rep. King really looking out for his district and the state of Texas? Read More
The technological advances that led to the “shale revolution” have undoubtedly had a large economic impact on the Texas economy – something state leaders and the oil and gas industry are never shy about pointing out. But the impact drilling has on air quality and public health, that’s something energy-friendly Texas has not been so quick to recognize.
When not managed responsibly, drilling operations can contribute to the formation of ozone, also commonly known as smog. At certain concentrations, this pollution can trigger asthma attacks and cause other severe respiratory illnesses.
San Antonio is one place that’s seeing the clear connection between drilling and lower air quality, thanks to increased drilling just south of the city from the Eagle Ford Shale region. Before 2008, ozone levels in San Antonio had been steadily dropping, but when the shale revolution hit and drilling increased, regional ozone readings started going up. In fact, based on air quality monitor readings from the last three years, San Antonio’s air quality is the 2nd worst in the state. This correlation between drilling and ozone levels has been documented by The University of Texas and the Alamo Area Council of Governments, both of which concluded oil and gas activity in the Eagle Ford Shale is materially impacting ozone levels in San Antonio. Read More
There has been clean air progress at ports, but more leaders are calling for zero-emission strategies
When surveying the clean air progress in freight hubs like ports, community leaders and environmental advocates can see hard work has paid off.
But they also see we must do more as a nation to fully protect the health and environment of communities near goods movement corridors.
And when faced with the expected 45 percent growth in freight transportation from 2012 to 2040 – as well as the sound science linking diesel exhaust to damaging health effects like asthma – many leaders are calling for the next generation milestone for clean air efforts: zero-emission strategies. Read More