Clean Air Regulations: Bad Policy and Bad Politics

CSE members: It’s Your Opportunity to Speak Out!!!

Brazoria County: Mark your Calendars for the CSE Rally, 5 pm Monday, Sept 18th, 2000, Lake Jackson Civic Center

Let’s tell the EPA that they can’t blackmail Texas, and that we know it’s about Politics, not Pollution!

The Proposed State Implementation Plan for Houston: Bad Policy and Bad Politics

Despite the barrage of negative reports, the air in Texas is cleaner than it was five years ago. Since 1995, ozone-exceedance days statewide are down by 25 percent while ozone violations have fallen by 15 percent in Houston. We still face challenges, but we are making progress without the proposed restrictions in the State Implementation Plan (SIP).

The EPA and Vice President Gore are focusing on Texas for partisan political purposes. They are being heavily assisted by well-funded special interest groups using the national spotlight of the presidential campaign to impose radical, unnecessary restrictions in our state. These restrictions threaten our quality of life without any measurable benefit.

The EPA is focusing much of its air quality enforcement efforts in Texas. Yet almost 120 areas nationwide fail to meet clean air standards of one kind or another and only 4 are in Texas.

The EPA and Vice President Gore are blackmailing Texas by threatening to take away highway funding if new restrictions are not imposed on our state. This is money hard-working Texans paid in taxes, not a slush fund for the EPA and Vice President Gore to control for their own political benefit. Moreover, cutting off funds for highway construction will only make congestion, and therefore emissions, worse.

We don’t know if the proposed restrictions in the SIP will actually address the challenges we face. This is because they are based on estimates of future emissions. We don’t know for certain how much ozone there will be in the future, we don’t really know if the proposed restrictions will be enough to satisfy EPA in the future, and we don’t know what new technology will be available to help us reach our goals in the future. What we do know for certain is that the restrictions in the SIP will hurt people now and cause tremendous economic disruption in our state.

The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commissions (TNRCC) is considering a final package of revisions to the SIP for air quality. These revisions would affect Harris, Montgomery, Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria, Liberty, Fort Bend, and Waller counties, and include:

Speed limit reductions to 55 mph in all eight counties on May 1, 2002.

A new vehicle emissions testing program for the eight-county area.

A ban on the use of gasoline-powered lawn care equipment in the eight counties between 6 a.m. and noon between April and October.

A ban on the use of heavy-duty construction equipment from 6 a.m. to noon April thru October.

Required ozone reductions of 70 percent from air conditioners.

Rules requiring the sale of more costly low-sulfur gasoline in Central and East Texas by 2004.

Rules requiring the sale of new diesel fuel in Central and East Texas starting in 2002.

A 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from industries in the area.

Early retirement and replacement of off-highway diesel equipment starting in December 2004.

Reductions in NOx emissions at area airports.

Energy conservation measures for new buildings.

Public Hearings: A Chance to Let Your Voice Be Heard

A series of public hearings are being held on the SIP revisions. We encourage you to attend the hearings in your area. We will also be holding a Citizen Rally at 5 pm in front of the Civic Center – before the Lake Jackson hearing Sept. 18! Signs for the protest will be made prior to the hearings. If you would like to help make signs or participate in the protest, contact Carol Jones at 830-798-1134 through September 12. (After this date she can reached at 409-297-1161 in Lake Jackson .) Anyone who is concerned about Texas should join us and let the TNRCC know that these regulations are about politics — not pollution.

September 18: 10 a.m., Lone Star Convention Center, 9055 Airport Rd. (FM 1484), Conroe;

September 18: 5:00 p.m. Rally/ Demonstration; 6:00 p.m. Question and Answer Session; 7 p.m. Hearing, Lake Jackson Civic Center, 333 Highway 332 East, Lake Jackson;

September 19: 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., George Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston, NOTE: two hearings in Houston this day;

September 20: 9 a.m., VFW Hall, 6202 George Bush Dr., Katy;

September 20: 6 p.m., East Harris County Community Center, 7340 Spencer, Pasadena;

September 21: 10 a.m., Southeast Texas Regional Airport, 6000 Airline Dr., Beaumont;

September 21: 2 p.m., City Commission Chambers, 509 E. 7th St., Amarillo;

September 21: 6 p.m., Charles Doyle Convention Center, 21st St.@ Phoenix Ln., Texas City;

September 22: 10 a.m., Dayton High School, 2nd Fl lecture Rm, 3200 N. Cleveland St, Dayton;

September 22: 11 a.m., El Paso City Council Chambers, 2 Civic Center Plaza, El Paso;

September 22: 2 p.m., N. Central Texas Council of Governments, 616 Six Flags Dr., Arlington;

September 25: 10 a.m., TNRCC Headquarters, 12100 N. Interstate 35, Austin.