Texas House Votes To Suffocate You and Your Family

I heard someone recommend selling the Texas Legislature as a way to fill the budget gap, but it is clear after yesterday that most of our Legislators are already owned by big polluters (decorum requires that I leave it at “owned”).

Although the process was already stacked in favor of polluters, the Texas House voted to strip away the last remaining fig leaf of protection for Texans fighting to keep their air and water clean.  Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) authored an amendment to the TCEQ sunset bill (HB 2694) that would shift the burden of proof to the individual challenging the issuance of a permit for polluting facilities like coal-fired power plants. 

This means that should a company want to build a coal or chemical plant near your home and you and your neighbors become concerned about a plant pumping harmful, cancer-causing chemicals into the air, you will be required to prove the extent of the problem rather than the permit applicant being required to prove the permit meets state and federal health and safety law as is required for every other permit.   

Shifting that requirement will make it incredibly difficult and expensive for Texans to challenge encroachments by big polluters on the health and safety of their families.  It will mean any individual hoping to protect their family will need to hire a lawyer and a number of experts to develop very expensive modeling.   

Rep. Chisum and those who voted with him voted to open Texans’ doors and choke off the voice of every Texan as polluters pump chemicals into their air and water.  They have voted to suffocate the rights of individuals in Texas to have a process that follows the rule of law.

While it is troubling that the vote was largely along a partisan line, I was heartened to see seven Republican members of the Texas House vote for the people of Texas.  Representatives Brandon Creighton (R- Conroe)Ralph Sheffield (R- Temple), Vicki Truitt (R- Southlake), Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas), Will Hartnett (R-Dallas), Chuck Hopson (R-Jacksonville) and Aaron Pena (R-Edinburg) should be commended for their stands against big polluters. 

We believe that this action will violate the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and a number of other long-held protections passed by Congress.  This can be stopped in the Texas Senate.  Contact your State Senator today and tell them vote NO to the Chisum Amendment.  

Rest assured, should the Chisum Amendment become law, the EPA will rescind all delegation of federal environmental programs from the State of Texas and take back the more than $40 million EPA provides Texas every year to run federal permitting.

The bible tells us “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

The truth is that the Chisum Amendment does nothing but rolls out the welcome mat for big polluters to fly through the permitting process without any meaningful scrutiny and takes away your right to fight for your family’s health and safety.

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