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Posts Tagged ‘TCEQ’

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 […]

Valero will not appeal tax break decision

Good. Valero Energy Corp. has decided not to appeal the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s rejection of its request for a controversial property tax exemption. […] Valero spokesman Bill Day said the company no longer would seek the exemption because it had reached agreements with appraisal districts for lower valuations on their refineries in all […]

CSAPR stayed

There was some bad news at the end of the year. A federal court ordered [last] Friday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial cross-state air pollution rule be stayed — to the delight of Texas officials and the chagrin of environmentalists. The rule, which sought to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power […]

Fix those leaks

We lost a lot of water this year, which seems like an especially undesirable thing during a record drought. At the peak of this year’s record drought, the city of Houston lost more than 18 billion gallons of water through a system that was leaking like a sieve, amounting to tens of millions of dollars […]

County sues over dioxin

More like this, please. Harris County has filed a lawsuit in state court to recover hundreds of millions of dollars from local waste management companies and a Pasadena paper factory responsible for storage of a human carcinogen that has leaked into the San Jacinto River. Named as defendants in the action, which seeks penalties of […]

TCEQ denies Valero tax break

Good. Texas environmental regulators have rejected Valero Energy Corp.’s request for a tax break that cities, counties and school districts feared would lead to devastating cuts to their budgets. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality denied the request because the San Antonio-based oil giant could not show an environmental benefit at its six Texas refineries […]

Giving tax breaks to those that don’t need them

You can add this to the list of things schools might have to pay for that they don’t have the money to pay for. Three environmental commissioners appointed by Gov. Rick Perry are considering whether to grant some of the nation’s largest refineries a tax refund of more than $135 million money Texas’ cash-strapped schools […]

TCEQ a no-show at EPA hearing

They’d rather sue than engage. At the hearing in a hotel ballroom, Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional administrator for Texas and five adjacent states, said the federal agency prefers to let the state issue the permits, as it does for other air pollutants. “This isn’t a program that we want to implement for years,” Armendariz […]

Here comes the EPA

The EPA has seized control of the permitting process in Texas for refineries, power plants, and the like. In a letter sent this week to state regulators, an EPA official wrote that 167 facilities in Texas – many of them power plants and oil refineries – would come under the rules. As of Jan. 2, […]

Two environmental issues for your attention

Are you familiar with tar sands? The Sierra Club would like to acquaint you with them this Thursday, December 16, on its Houston Frontlines tour. Elected officials and community members will gather at Hartmann Community Center on Thursday, December 16th for a tour of industrial facilities along the Houston Ship Channel and the communities they […]

Bay City coal plant gets TCEQ approval

Great. Texas’ environmental agency granted air pollution permits for a proposed coal- and petroleum coke-fired power plant in Matagorda County over the objections of local officials and residents Wednesday. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality voted 3-0 in support of the permits for the 1,320-megawatt White Stallion Energy Center, which would be built about 90 […]

EPA-TCEQ agreement in the works

A compromise is in the works between the EPA and the TCEQ over the controversial “flex permits” that the EPA has deemed not in compliance with the Clean Air Act. “We’re very close,” said Richard Hyde, deputy director of permitting and registration at the commission. He said the object of the meeting today is to […]

Lawmakers ask TCEQ to help plants comply with EPA

This is a good idea. After a lobbying push by oil giants, a bipartisan group of Texas legislators have asked state environmental regulators to quickly solve a permit dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that has left some of the nation’s largest oil refineries in operating limbo. A letter signed by 46 legislators is […]

State sues the EPA again

Round and round we go… Texas has sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency for the second time in six weeks, escalating a feud over the state’s rules for air pollution from refiners and other large industries. State Attorney General Greg Abbott said Monday he filed a petition with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, […]

EPA cracks down further

Here it comes. The Environmental Protection Agency has formally denounced the state’s air-pollution permitting system for some of its biggest industrial plants — and reactions are pouring in. Texas’s system, the EPA said in its release, “allows companies to avoid certain federal clean air requirements.” The decision, which the EPA had signaled last September, affects […]

EPA goes after more permits

Good for them. The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it was taking over the issuance of operating permits for two more Texas facilities — Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou and Garland Power and Light — further escalating the federal-state fight over air quality regulations. “The state has refused up to this point to issue good permits, […]

Texas sues the EPA

I suppose this was inevitable. Texas filed a federal court challenge Monday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reject part of the state’s air-quality program. […] State Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office — in a statement accompanying the announcement of the petition being filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals in […]

TCEQ versus EPA

This fight between the TCEQ and the EPA, or more broadly between polluters and people who like to breathe, has been coming for a long time. Environmentalists are excited by the EPA’s new aggressive posture and hope it prompts an overhaul of the TCEQ and Texas environmental regulation in the sunset process. Former TCEQ Commissioner […]

The TCEQ has no one to blame but itself

What the DMN says: For more than a year, the Obama administration has been beating the same drum, telling the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that its permitting system falls short of federal standards. Yet some Texas leaders and regulators still seem shocked – shocked – that the EPA made good on its promise last […]

Why should anyone trust the TCEQ?

Rick Perry wants the EPA to back off. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Gov. Rick Perry, citing improvements in Texas air quality, asked President Barack Obama on Friday to get regional Environmental Protection Agency administrators to back off efforts to take over the state’s air quality permitting process for refineries and power […]

Here comes the EPA

No one can say they weren’t warned. Objecting to how Texas regulates air pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it is taking over the issuance of an operating permit for a Corpus Christi refinery and could step in at some 39 other major facilities across the state. “I think the writing will be […]

The Valero effect

This is just what all of our cash-strapped local budgets need right now. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is not typically a big player in school finance debates. But an upcoming decision by the commission could strike a major blow to the budgets of many school districts that will have to be made up, […]

Looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day?

The Alliance for a Clean Texas has a suggestion: Texans expect our environmental agency to protect our health. TCEQ too often falls short of these expectations due to lax enforcement of existing clean air and water laws. The sunset review process offers all concerned Texans a chance to advocate for much-needed reforms at TCEQ. Here […]

“Don’t ask, don’t smell”

The Chron takes the TCEQ to task for it’s screw-the-public decision regarding the Lyondell permit. “They’re proposing to put thousands of tons of a cancer-causing chemical into our air,” says former Mayor Bill White. “They say they’ll reduce the amount that they’re emitting. But the city can’t tell how much they’ll reduce the benzene emissions. […]

Why TCEQ is broken

Back in 2008, Mayor White and the city of Houston made a request of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to hold a hearing before a judge on the latest permit application for Lyondell Chemical Co.’s refinery along the Houston Ship Channel. The TCEQ got around to ruling on that request this week, and […]

The EPA hearing on smog

Here’s the Chron story on that EPA hearing on smog from Tuesday. The EPA’s plan calls for a smog limit between 60 and 70 molecules of ozone per billion molecules of air, down from 75 parts per billion set in the final months of Bush administration. Ozone is the main ingredient in smog. Federal regulators […]

Of smog and hot air

Get ready for the upcoming fight over Texas’ – and Houston’s – air quality. The federal government proposed a tougher limit on ozone pollution Thursday that will force Houston to make deeper emissions cuts just as the former smog capital met the previous standard for the first time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the […]

Air cleanup progress report

Some good news about efforts to get manufacturing plants to pollute less. In 2005, following Houston Chronicle and state reports about alarming levels of butadiene in neighborhoods near Texas Petrochemicals, the company signed a non-binding agreement with the TCEQ to cut emissions by at least half within five years and to keep pollutants from wafting […]

Our air might be cleaner than we think

This is a pleasant surprise. Houston, once considered the nation’s capital of dirty air, is on the verge of meeting federal limits for smog for the first time. If the numbers hold as the smog season draws to an end, the eight-county region will meet the limit for the lung-irritating pollutant by the narrowest of […]

Lawsuit filed to force TCEQ to regulate greenhouse gases

Apparently, if you want the TCEQ to do its job, you need to file a lawsuit against them to make them do it. Which is what Public Citizen did on Tuesday, with a request to stop the permitting of coal-fired power plants in the meantime. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issues air pollution permits […]

If that’s your best, your best won’t do

We may never actually comply with federal clean air regulations. Texas’ new plan to improve the Houston area’s famously dirty air may not meet federal limits for smog. The pollution-fighting plan that state regulators are rolling out today predicts marked reductions in ozone, or smog, levels throughout the eight-county region. But monitors in Deer Park […]

In case you were wondering why we have bad air quality in Texas

Ever wonder why we have such lax enforcement of environmental regulations here in Texas? One reason is because the people who head up the agencies that have the power to enforce those regulations are mostly charlatans and industry apologists. Go read Forrest Wilder’s account of a farcical “Cap and Trade Summit” at which the speakers […]

EPA to tighten air quality standards

Good. Federal regulators signaled Wednesday that they would abandon Bush-era limits on smog pollution that scientists said didn’t go far enough to protect public health. Amid concerns that the current rules don’t adhere to the federal Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose tighter nationwide limits on ozone, or smog, by late December. […]

Our illegal air

Apparently, we don’t sufficiently enforce clean air standards in Texas. Who ever could have guessed that? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that many of the air pollution rules Texas uses to control the state’s industry do not comply with the federal Clean Air Act. Tuesday’s announcement was met with applause from politicians and […]