Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): Elena Craft

Texas Air Pollution: Yes, There’s Even an App for That!

One of my friends and colleagues recently moved back to the Dallas/Fort Worth area from Austin and was somewhat distressed as a runner knowing that she was facing higher outdoor air pollution levels.

Cruising iPhone apps (applications) one day, she stumbled upon more than one related to air pollution and air quality and wanted me to pass the information along to our Texas readers. One in particular, “MyAirQuality,” is a great, quick reference tool especially for those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Dallas Fort-Worth, Environment, Ozone / Also tagged , , | Comments are closed

Cleaning up our ports: Join the EDF Innovation Exchange Forum

Port facilities are critical hubs of international trade.  In the U.S., over 2 billion tons of cargo pass through our ports each year. These facilities can also be significant sources of harmful emissions that affect human health and warm our climate. These emissions are particularly worrisome, given that over 87 million Americans live near port areas that are not meeting federal health-oriented air quality standards.

Many solutions exist to clean up our ports while maintaining their ability to move vast volumes of goods. For example, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently announced a joint “Clean Trucks Initiative” to develop clean truck programs at ports throughout the United States, beginning with those in the Southeast.

For the next call in the Environmental Defense Fund series exploring opportunities to cut greenhouse gas emissions from freight and fleets, we will explore the challenges and opportunities for reducing pollution in our ports. Leading this discussion will be Dr. Elena Craft, who leads EDF’s efforts to clean up ports along the Gulf and East Coasts.

The call is on July 26th at 12pm ET.  To join, call:

* Phone number: +1 (213) 289-0500
* Code: 267-6815

We look forward to having you join us in this conversation.

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Posted in Environment, Ports / Also tagged , | Comments are closed

Thanks EPA, We Needed That

We all know that Texas is a special place and that things operate differently here than in any other place in the country. One thing that isn’t different, however, is the way toxic pollutants impact our health. Texans aren’t any more immune to the health impacts of air pollutants than other Americans, no matter how big and bad we think we are.

So we’d like to give a big shout out to EPA for forcing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), our state environmental agency, to make sure that every Texan receives the same protections from toxic air pollution as every other American.

Here are some facts about emissions of air toxics across the state

  • Facilities in Texas released almost 90 million pounds of hazardous air pollutants in 2008, according to EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory.
  • Facilities in Texas released almost 30 million pounds of toxics considered to be cancer-causing by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2008.
  • Approximately 80 percent of all benzene and 1,3-butadiene emissions in the country in 2008 were in the state of Texas. Read More »
Posted in Air Pollution, Environmental Protection Agency, Ozone, TCEQ / Also tagged , , , , | Comments are closed

State Claims Air Quality Victory – No Matter How Short-lived!

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a press release this week announcing that Houston is in attainment for fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, extremely small pollution particles that easily enter the lungs. While the release gave a “good news” story about Houston area industries working together to solve the related environmental and public health issues, it didn’t mention that in April, EPA released its first draft policy assessment on PM2.5 recommending consideration of even stronger standards. These stronger standards will most certainly put Houston out of attainment once again.

Why is EPA considering changes to the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5?

Mounting scientific evidence warns of the health threats derived from both long- and short-term exposures to these fine particles floating in the air.

PM2.5 exposure is known to result in a variety of very serious health problems, including:

  • Pre-mature mortality
  • Increased risk of hospital and emergency room visits for those with heart or lung diseases
  • Development of lung diseases like chronic bronchitis
  • Aggravation of lung diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis
  • Aggravation of heart diseases, such as congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease
  • Respiratory symptoms including coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort, wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections Read More »
Posted in Particulate Matter / Also tagged , , , | Read 1 Response

Texas counties fail Air Report while state environmental commission tries to cut back fees on polluters

The American Lung Association issued its Annual State of the Air Report this week. The report looks at levels of ozone and particle pollution found in monitoring sites across the United States in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Key National Findings:

  • More than 175 million people (around 58%) in the nation suffer from pollution levels that exceed health-based federal standards.
  • While air quality is improving in many cities, unhealthy air remains a threat to the lives and health of millions of people in the United States.
  • People who have low incomes face higher risk of harm from air pollution.

Texas Findings:

  • Houston is the 7th most ozone-polluted city in the country.
  • 21 of the 36 Texas counties studied in the report received an F for having too many high ozone days.
  • Harris County, home to almost four million people, had 77 orange ozone days (unhealthy for sensitive populations), 16 red ozone days (unhealthy for the general population), and three purple ozone days (very unhealthy for the general population). Read More »
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12-Step Program for TCEQ to Clean Up Air Pollutant “Hotspots” in Texas

Playground with pollutionOur 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

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 »

Posted in Air Pollution, Clean Air Act, Climate Change, Flare emissions, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , | Read 4 Responses