Houston Environmental Summit Highlights Gulf Coast Environmental Progress and Future Needs

EDFers Marcelo Norsworthy and Chris Wolfe (L) with Rachel Powers, Executive Director of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC).

EDFers Marcelo Norsworthy and Chris Wolfe (L) with Rachel Powers, Executive Director of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC).

The Houston environmental community was strengthened and reinvigorated after last week’s Greater Houston Environmental Summit, an event organized by the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC). The summit was designed to allow local environmental leaders to share their take on how Houston is addressing key challenges related to growth, transportation, air quality, and infrastructure. A principle message from the summit was how high-paced growth and demographic changes have been altering the face of Houston. What does Houston’s rapidly-growing, multi-ethnic population, in fact, mean for environmental issues?

Houston, the 6th largest metro region, is expected to see its population jump to more than 7 million people by 2020. This rapid growth means that, while there are more pressures on natural resources like air quality, there may also be a new resolve to make significant emissions reductions. As many of the speakers at the summit highlighted, the time is now to move the needle on a number of environmental challenges facing Houston and its diverse population.

[Tweet “New Blog: #Houston Environmental Summit Highlights Gulf Coast #Environmental Progress and Future Needs @cecHouston”]

Houston leaders recognize that good air quality is essential to a high quality of life. Yet, while the air has gotten cleaner, Houston is still in violation of national health-based standards, and many communities continue to suffer from harmful pollution. Understanding the demographic changes in Houston helps to frame air quality advocacy work and to propel new projects and initiatives. The demographic changes, new national environmental and public health standards, projected population and industrial growth, and renewed attention on environmental justice issues mean that environmental advocates, such as CEC, EDF, and numerous partners in attendance, are poised to make tremendous strides helping Houston become a healthier place to live.

EDF was thrilled to engage with many long-time Houston air quality partners at the CEC event and meet other groups working on improving Houston’s quality of life. As EDF advances efforts such as environmental performance metrics for seaports and updated standards for heavy-duty trucks, we will continue to collaborate with our partners as well as forge new relationships. The CEC Greater Houston Environmental Summit was a terrific platform for strengthening partnerships and bringing the environmental community together to learn what’s next for Houston. It’s an exciting time to be an environmental advocate, and we look forward to sharing great successes in the future.

This entry was posted in Air Pollution, Houston. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.