Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): Clean Air

Texas Officials Spreading Cow Pies

Today Texas Congressmen Joe Barton and John Carter along with a number of members of the Texas Legislature, Chairman Bryan Shaw (TCEQ) and others stood up for pollution. They announced their intent to prevent actions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing the Clean Air Act to protect public health.  They relied on tired arguments and misrepresented statistics to paint a picture of doom for Texas industry.

Congressmen John Carter went as far to say that those who question the quality of Texas air “don’t think much of Texas.”  Well I resent that remark, I was born and baptized in Ft. Worth, attended Texas Christian University and have lived in Texas for 33 consecutive years.  Real Texans care about our state’s future and wouldn’t try to gut protections that save lives and create jobs in clean energy.

We have a multi-billion dollar state budget shortfall and have yet to pass a federal budget for a fiscal year we are already in, yet two Congressmen, multiple members of the Texas Legislature as well as two state agency commissioners feel it necessary to waste time debating the merits of a regulation that most Texas companies are already willing to follow.

The EPA warned the State of Texas that the Flexible Permit Program implemented by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) did not meet federal standards for almost a decade.  After a lot of grandstanding and political posturing last year, 71 of the 74 companies holding flexible permits in the State of Texas have agreed to meet EPA regulations. It seems that industry is ahead of the politicians.  Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs, Ozone, Particulate Matter, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments are closed

Abbott Needs To Stop Misleading National Leaders

In Abbott’s recent letter to President Obama, Harry Reid, and John Boehner, he calls on Obama “to end job-killing regulations and rescind the EPA rules that Texas has challenged.”  He opens with a history of the GHG issue that starts in December of 2009, and goes on to talk about the “flawed regulations issued by EPA based on its misguided claim of authority,” neglecting to mention a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 and more work done by the EPA during previous administrations.

Notwithstanding Abbott’s lack of historical context on GHG regulation, let’s review the arguments that Texas has stated for challenging these regulations, as well as why those arguments fail to make sense:

Argument: The Clean Air Act, passed by and amended by two Republican presidents to protect the health and safety of Americans, should not be used to address emissions that cause global warming.

Why the argument fails: The Massachusetts v. EPA Supreme Court decision (that is almost four years old, and authored by conservative jurist Anthony Kennedy,) requires the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, unless the federal agency determines that global warming poses no threat to the public welfare. Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs, Ozone, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , | Read 3 Responses

Texas vs. The EPA: Insanity

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has denied the State of Texas’ third attempt to block the implementation of greenhouse gas pollution control measures for the largest sources of pollution. At stake in the current case is a narrow federal action to ensure the largest sources in Texas can obtain construction permits.

Here was my comment in a press statement:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott have now wasted millions of taxpayer dollars losing multiple frivolous lawsuits that only served to protect major polluters from a law that all other 49 state are following.  As the Legislature convenes this week facing an estimated $27 billion dollar budget shortfall, we can only hope that the Governor and Attorney General will decide to fire Exxon’s Yankee lawyers who he has representing his office and let Texas use that money for state services that help people, not on polluting their air.” 

Jim Marston
Texas Regional Director
National Energy Program Director

Posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , , , , , | Read 4 Responses

Hypocrisy In Action

This doesn’t require a lot rhetoric or discussion.  Hypocrisy in action is like a truck driver ballet, it’s painful, but you have to look.

Take a look at this PDF – it’s what Attorney General Abbott filed December 30th, 2010 as part of their latest frivolous lawsuit against the EPA on Green House Gas permitting.   You’ll see the names of some top lawyers from Baker Hostetler.

It seems that Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott, while loathing DC insiders, certainly don’t mind giving them your money.  These guys have experience fighting for pollution, they represent ExxonMobil.

Questions to ask ourselves as the Comptroller prepares a report for the Legislature next week on the State’s budget shortfall:

1)      How much are Exxon’s Yankee Lawyers costing Texas taxpayers?

2)     How much have the Governor and Attorney General spent on these frivolous lawsuits?

3)     When will Governor Perry start spending state resources on the good of the people and not the good of polluters?

Posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs, Ozone, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , , , | Read 7 Responses

Clearing the Air About the Air in Texas

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but after a series of public statements from Governor Perry and his appointed officials, I thought it was time to jump back into the game and clear some of the recent mis-statements about Texas air quality. Texas officials have said that the air in Texas is cleaner than any other state in the country and that it’s due to the state’s environmental policies. But is that true?

I don’t think so, and here are just a few of the reasons why: Read More »

Posted in Ozone, Particulate Matter, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , | Read 1 Response

Houston area monitor exceeds 1 hour ozone standard

This month the Houston area Park Place air monitor crossed a significant threshold – concentrations of ozone were so high that the monitor violated the 3-year average for the national 1 hour ozone standard. Even though the EPA revoked the 1hr standard several years ago, opting to rely on a more stringent 8 hr standard alone to protect public health, the Houston area is still required to meet the 1hr standard (it’s part of an anti-backsliding rule, which means that even though a standard has been revoked, you must still meet the standard). Read More »

Posted in Ozone, TCEQ / Also tagged , , , | Comments are closed