Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): recent publications

TCEQ in an uphill battle to regain lost credibility

Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) say the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to “impose federal control over Texas” and is interested in a “blatant power grab.”

In fact, the EPA is simply making good on its warning that it would be required to intervene in Texas’ air permitting program if the TCEQ doesn’t comply with the federal Clean Air Act.  What’s more, those warnings date well back into the administration of President George W. Bush.

Still, it must have seemed to the TCEQ like they were suddenly getting it from all sides.

TCEQ’s two-weeks-from-hell in review:

  • May 25:  EPA announces it will begin issuing air permits in Texas until the TCEQ’s Air Quality Program can become federally compliant and issue permits consistent with the Clean Air Act.
  • May 26:  Texas Observer breaks story that there was an allegation of fraud against the TCEQ regarding their Fort Worth mobile air monitoring study and an internal investigation that uncovered four instances of elevated benzene levels in Fort Worth that went undisclosed to the public or city. Read More »
Posted in Ozone, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , , , , | Read 8 Responses

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