Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): Houston

Despite Industry Protest Recent Court Ruling Will Bring Cleaner Air To Houston

Today, the DC Circuit Court rejected an industry argument to abolish clean air fees.

EDF played an integral role in this case as a declarant, helping to demonstrate that the misdirected guidance issued by EPA had resulted in a threat to public health.

Here’s a summary from the recent ruling:

 “TATEL, Circuit Judge: Yet again we face a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of ozone under the Clean Air Act. At issue this time is an EPA “guidance document” addressing obligations of regions still in nonattainment of a now-revoked ozone air quality standard. Petitioner argues that the Guidance amounts to a legislative rule issued in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice and comment requirement and that its substantive content is contrary to law. Firing nearly all the arrows in its jurisdictional quiver, EPA argues that petitioner lacks standing, that the Guidance does not qualify as final agency action, and that petitioner’s claims are unripe for judicial review. As we explain in this opinion, all three arrows miss their target. On the merits, we conclude that the Guidance qualifies as a legislative rule that EPA was required to issue through notice and comment rulemaking and that one of its features—the so-called attainment alternative—violates the Clean Air Act’s plain language. We therefore grant the petition for review and vacate the Guidance.” 

 Check out this post from Adrian Martinez of NRDC for more information.

Posted in Air Pollution, Ozone / Also tagged | Comments are closed

Guest Author Says Education Key to Solving Air Quality Issues

Deiedre Wright volunteers for Environmental Community Advocates of Galena Park to improve air quality for its residents.

There are more than 10,000 people living in Galena Park, an area on the north bank of the Houston Ship Channel, just east of the Houston City limits. Having lived there for 30 years, I have seen and personally experienced some of the worst air pollution in our state.

Yes, we live in an area known for its toxic industrial emissions and no, many do not have the luxury of moving, even though we are exposed daily to air that may be harmful to our health (Note: The median household income is around $31,000 per year.).

I’m not an air quality expert, but have learned over time that more could be done to improve the air we breathe in our community. My thoughts include:

  • More monitoring: In our area, there is a great need more air testing sites directly across from the ship channel. The closest monitoring site to Galena Park is more than a mile away from offending chemical plants and 18-wheeler traffic. I’ve never really understood the logic for this. If there is a need to know about Galena Park air quality, shouldn’t the monitors be in Galena Park?
  • More city action: Our city needs to do more to deter industry from harming citizens. Perhaps 18-wheeler traffic could be re-routed from the main street going through Galena Park. The trucks use that street as an entry point to the Port of Houston. Particulate matter could be reduced significantly should they be diverted onto a different road within the Port of Houston.
  • More industry action: Many of us believe that the most-profitable petrochemical companies do the least to truly help the communities they occupy. Whatever happened to giving back to your community?
  • More soil testing: Another concern is for those who plant vegetable gardens in their backyards or elsewhere within the community. The soil is not being tested for contaminants prior to planting and the result could be a non-healthy solution to what people may think is a healthy alternative.

Finally, more education is needed to raise awareness of these air quality issues. When communities are more informed, they come together to help find and demand solutions.

Posted in Air Pollution, Ports / Also tagged , , , | Read 1 Response