Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Texas Industry Groups and Agencies fighting stricter smog limits

Industry groups, mostly oil, gas and chemical industries, along with Texas agency officials are opposed to the new federal ozone standards set by the EPA.

Here is Texas, the oil and gas industry is supposed to be regulated by the Texas Railroad Commission. We have mentioned in the past that the TRC top officials are elected and receive a majority of their campaign donations from the very industry they are in charge of regulating.

The air quality is monitored by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, an agency that the members are appointed by Governor Perry. Perry, the TRC, TCEQ, and the Oil and Gas Industry are pretty much admitting that they can't drill right. They complain that it will cost jobs if they are forced to clean up the air.

Read a few of the paragraphs from this article.

But the Obama administration’s proposal to reduce the acceptable level of ground-level ozone to from 60 to 70 parts per billion ran into stiff opposition here, where the oil and gas industry is king and the state environmental agency under Gov. Rick Perry, a conservative Republican, has been generally unwilling to crack down on polluters if it means sacrificing jobs.

The members of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, appointed by Mr. Perry, have made it plain they will fight the stricter standards and have called them arbitrary, unnecessary and unachievable.

The proposed lower standards also drew fire from manufacturers and oil and gas companies, who fear they will bear the brunt of the costs of cutting down the volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that cause smog. Some issued dire warnings of jobs being cut to pay for it.
“It will have a devastating impact on the chemical industry,” said Christina Wisdom, of the Texas Chemical Council.

Throughout the years, other industries have had to make changes to comply with the Federal Environmental Acts.

But environmentalists and health groups, who generally applaud the proposed rule, scoffed at assertions that the petrochemical industry would be forced to slash jobs to meet the requirements. It was an empty threat, they said, pointing out that the federal government has steadily tightened air quality standards for decades without slowing economic growth.

“Historically, the benefits of cleaning up outweigh the costs three to one,” said Janice Nolen, of the American Lung Association.

The health of all Americans is at stake. Everyone will have to make sacrifices. The Oil and Gas Industry should too.

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