Fort Worth Star-Telegram Defends EPA’s Clean-Air Enforcement Actions, Reports TCEQ Misled City on Air Pollution Tests

May 28th, 2010

The big environmental news out of Texas this week was that the Environmental Protection Agency was stepping in to take over issuing operating permits for refineries and other heavy industries with “flex-permits” issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The EPA is investigating whether flex permits allow these industries to side-step compliance with the Clean Air Act. Today, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram defended the actions of the EPA against criticism from Governor Rick Perry, noting that “At a time when a botched oil well has spewed nobody knows how many thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Texas officials should think twice before downplaying concerns about the environment.”

The full editorial can be read here.

In other big news, The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported this week that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality gave inaccurate test results to the City of Fort Worth about air pollution tests in the area, and then failed to notify the city or the public for weeks.

The full article can be read here.

As TLCV noted in its 2009 Scorecard, “TCEQ must do a better job at protecting the environment and ensuring the health and safety of the public.”

Rick Perry’s rhetoric during the worst environmental disaster in US History, and TCEQ’s failure to protect the public health in Fort Worth signal that it is time for new leadership in Texas, and time for serious reform of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

UPDATE: Republican Congressman Michael Burgess is now calling for an investigation of TCEQ over its handing of air testing in Fort Worth.  “Those responsible should be held fully accountable, and I believe that a robust investigation by the Texas attorney general’s office would be appropriate,” Burgess said in a statement.

Read more on this story here.