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Posts Tagged ‘pollution’

“Environmental tort reform”

Oh, hell no. After failing in their attempt to limit cities and counties’ ability to take industrial polluters to court, some Houston businesses and statewide lobbyists now want to limit how much local governments can collect in penalties, a sort of environmental tort reform effort aimed squarely at a Harris County Attorney’s office they say […]

News flash: Greg Abbott wants to sue the EPA again

Nobody could have foreseen this! Foretelling a new environmental battle between state and federal regulators, Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday demanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency back down from a proposal to expand the definition of federal waters to include seasonal and rain-dependent waterways. The proposal “is without adequate scientific and economic justification and, […]

Texas will do just fine under the new EPA clean air regulations

Unless it wants to fail, of course, which is always an option under the likes of Rick Perry and Greg Abbott. Texas could lead the way into a less carbon-intensive future under the Obama administration’s plans to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Or the state could have trouble keeping the lights […]

Court rules for the EPA against Texas again

Another win for the environment. A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Obama administration’s new rules that for the first time limit emissions of mercury and other harmful pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a Texas-based challenge […]

San Antonio plastic bag ban update

Here’s an update on the city of San Antonio’s effort to regulate plastic bag usage, which may include a ban. It’s written by San Antonio City Council member Cris Medina, who is the point person for the effort. Late last year, after multiple conversations with members of the Citizen’s Environmental Advisory Committee (members are appointed […]

Texas stands with polluters against the EPA one more time

Here we go. The Obama administration’s climate change agenda on Monday faced one of its first real tests in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, where Texas and a group of industry leaders challenged an Environmental Protection Agency regulation aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The question before the court is whether permits needed by […]

EPA and TCEQ settle lawsuits over flex permits

One less court fight for us and the feds. The EPA and Texas on Wednesday said they have reached a deal over state permits for industrial air pollution, ending a four-year fight that to some had become a symbol of regulatory overreach by the federal government. The agreement comes after the federal agency initially rejected […]

That pollution isn’t our fault!

You have to admire the creativity. Harris County’s problem with tiny, lung-damaging particles in the air can be blamed partly on African dust and crop-clearing fires in Mexico, the state’s environmental agency has told federal regulators. If the Environmental Protection Agency agrees with the state’s finding, then the county would avoid stringent pollution controls and […]

Going after the dumpers

Glad to see this. City Council District B will be the site of a pilot program in which five surveillance video cameras have been placed in undisclosed locations, [Mayor Annise] Parker announced. The cameras will be monitored in real time by the Houston Police Department’s Environmental Investigations Unit, which will relay information about illegal dumping […]

SCOTUS to hear CSAPR appeal

I’m not terribly excited about anything the Supreme Court does these days, but we’ll see about this. The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday to take a case that has pitted Texas against the Obama administration over a federal rule aimed at reducing air pollution that crosses state borders. The decision comes 10 months after a […]

Everybody sues the EPA

The state of Texas and our pollution-loving Attorney General do it because they think the EPA does too much to protect us from harm. Some other groups do it because they think the EPA isn’t doing enough. In the suit filed on Thursday, Air Alliance Houston and three other groups accuse the U.S. Environmental Protection […]

Texas versus EPA, round one zillion

The desire to coddle polluters is strong in this one. A Texas-led coalition of energy-producing states has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case involving the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. The petition, which was filed last week, comes 10 months after a three-judge panel of […]

Protecting polluters

Ridiculous. It’s never been easy fighting powerful polluters in Texas. A bill approved by a Senate committee today would make it even harder. With a big push from the Texas Chemical Council and the Texas Association of Business, the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted 6-3 today for legislation “streamlining” (read: weakening) the process that communities […]

Still fighting the Waller County landfill

I’ve written before about a battle in Waller County over a proposed landfill that would be built there. While the landfill has moved closer to being approved, it’s not yet a done deal, and its opponents are still fighting against it. “This landfill has done more to divide our county than anything I’ve ever seen. […]

Houston loses air pollution permit lawsuit

Bummer. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Houston may not effectively void a state air pollution permit. The justices agreed with Southern Crushed Concrete that Houston’s 2007 law restricting the location of concrete-crushing facilities violates state statute by nullifying a permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In reversing an appeals court […]

White Stallion coal plant deep sixed

I mentioned this in passing the other day, but the news that White Stallion has been shelved deserves its own post. Developers have dropped plans for the White Stallion Energy Center about 90 miles southwest of Houston, signaling the end of a once heady rush to build several new coal-fired power plants across Texas. White […]

We’ve got mercury, yes we do

Once again, Texas overachieves at something bad. Even though mercury and other hazardous air pollution from U.S. power plants are declining, the progress at the coal-fired power plants are uneven, leaving in place a significant remaining risk to the health of the public and environment, according to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project […]

More on metal recycling

The Chron has a followup story on metal recycling and hexavalent chromium. Houston air experts plan to deepen their investigation into the air outside metal recycling companies after their measurements showed – apparently for the first time – that the businesses could be a source of potent fumes known to cause cancer. “We are searching […]

Recycling pollution

This is unfortunate. The calls to the city of Houston’s 311 help line came in the early morning and the middle of the night – complaints of red smoke, yellow smoke, explosions, fire, a child having trouble breathing. Reports like these – 189 of them over the last five years – led Houston air authorities […]

Soot

We have it. What are we going to do about it? Harris County, long known for smog, will need to clamp down on another harmful type of air pollution for the first time under new rules imposed by federal regulators Friday. The Environmental Protection Agency set a stricter standard for tiny particulate matter, or soot, […]

EDF report on school buses

From the Environmental Defense Fund: Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) [Monday] released a report titled “Review of Texas’ Clean School Bus Programs: How Far Have We Come and What Is Still Left to Do?” This report evaluates each of the clean school bus programs in Texas, reviews accomplishments, and offers suggestions for improvement. Diesel engines power […]

The dumbest plastic bag argument I’ve seen so far

This story is about the city of San Francisco rolling out a new ordinance intended to further limit the use of disposable bags by retailers. I’ve heard a variety of arguments against the different versions of this kind of law, but this one takes the cake. Starting Oct. 1, BYOB in San Francisco will take […]

CSAPR knocked down by federal court

Score one for the polluters. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority with the new regulation. Led by Texas, 14 states and several power companies challenged the legality of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which imposes caps on […]

Count tells EPA to review flex permits

Score one for Texas. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s disapproval of Texas’ Flexible Permits program was not supported by the Clean Air Act. Under the Flexible Permits program, which had been in place since 1994, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality put a cap on allowed […]

More on the landfills of Waller County

Last July I wrote about a proposed landfill in Waller County near Hempstead and the residents who are fighting against it. The Statesman has an update on the story. In many ways, the landfill fight in this rural Texas town two hours east of Austin has a standard shape: An out-of-state corporation is accused of […]

Guess who likes the Obamacare ruling now?

The state of Texas, that’s who. But not for any positive reason, of course. The high court decision limited the power of Congress to force states to take certain actions by threatening to withhold federal money – in the Affordable Care Act case, existing Medicaid funds. Chief Justice John Roberts called the threat “a gun […]

Seattle bans plastic bags

Spotted this while we were in Portland. Those ubiquitous, single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at checkout counters at grocery and retail stores across Seattle starting Sunday. The ban intended to cut down on pollution requires grocers and other retailers to stop handing out plastic bags and charge customers a nickel fee for […]

Tyson Sowell: The Problem of Single-Use Bags

The following is from a series of guest posts that I will be presenting over the next few weeks. On Wednesday, June 20, Houston City Council approved a budget amendment to “address littering by plastic bags or phasing out plastic bags city-wide. This proposal will be taken to the appropriate committee for proper vetting, consideration […]

That other big lawsuit

In case you missed it, there was another big ruling last week that will have a profound effect on Texas. A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld a finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse gases pose a public health threat and require potentially costly limits from vehicles, power plants and other industrial sources. In […]

Fifth Circuit rules for EPA against Texas

It’s always a pleasure seeing our litigious Attorney General get slapped down by whatever court he’s bothering this week. In the latest turn in a saga pitting environmental regulators in Washington against those in Austin, a panel of federal judges on Friday sided with the federal Environmental Protection Agency in its effort to tamp down […]

CNG garbage trucks

You won’t hear them coming. Waste Management [announced on Friday that] it is pushing forward on a nationwide plan to convert all of its 18,342 trucks from loud and smoky diesel engines to quieter and cleaner compressed natural gas-powered machines. The latest destination for the company’s CNG trucks will be the Houston area, starting at […]

Texas continues its fight against clean air

The state of Texas was back in court last week, arguing for its right to pollute other states’ air. The latest round in the state’s fight with the Environmental Protection Agency will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, often considered the nation’s most influential after the Supreme Court. […]

Sierra Club sues over coal permits

Remember how four coal plants were granted permits to pollute more in December? You probably don’t, because it basically happened under cover of darkness. The Sierra Club found out about it and has filed a lawsuit to call a halt to it. The environmental group is appealing permit amendments approved Dec. 16 by the Texas […]

How gassy are we?

I’m talking about greenhouse gases, of course. And the answer is, now you can find out for yourself. The greenhouse gas wars are about to heat up again in Texas. Next month, a federal court hears oral arguments in lawsuits that Texas has filed to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency, which began regulating heat-trapping emissions […]