McCain Distorts Texas Environmental Record

Recently, Senator John McCain said that the state of Texas was “the worst violator of clean air in America,” and his campaign is running radio ads claiming that “Texas ranks worst among all 50 states in toxic air pollution.” Both statements are untrue.

Said CSE president Paul Beckner, “The real record in Texas over the past five years is one of significant environmental progress,” said Paul Beckner, CSE President. “Clean Air act violations have fallen by 25 percent and toxic pollution is down by 43 million pounds, the biggest reduction in the country. There is, obviously, room for continued improvements, but to dismiss the progress that has been made over the past five years demeans the sacrifices all Texans have made to clean up the state.”

In addition to ignoring Texas’ environmental progress, Senator McCain’s statements misrepresent several facts. Although Senator McCain claims that Texas is “the worst violator of clean air in America,” only four areas statewide violate the Clean Air Act. Both California and Arizona are far worse off, with each state facing 12 violations.

Moreover, Texas does not rank worst in toxic air pollution when the numbers are looked at objectively. Since comparing states like Texas and Rhode Island in absolute terms is meaningless, many groups — including the Sierra Club — use a per-person measurement for emissions. Using this measurement, Texas is far from being the worst, but rather, is ranked 26th — better than both Arizona and Tennessee.

“It is unfortunate that the real record of Texas is being distorted in the rough and tumble of politics,” concluded Beckner, “We respect Senator McCain, but on behalf of CSE’s 25,000 members in the state of Texas, we urge his campaign to take a real look at the Texas record.”