Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 26, 2010
Contact: Tina Tran, 512-463-0113

Senator Ellis Responds to EPA Objections to Texas' Air Permitting Program

(Austin) — Yesterday, EPA took an important step to address deficiencies in Texas' air permitting program by directing a Texas plant with a deficient air quality permit to seek a federally authorized permit directly from EPA. Senator Ellis released the following statement.

"I urge the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to continue working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to bridge the gap that exists between Texas' current air permitting process and what is legally required by the Clean Air Act. Since breathing clean air is not a partisan issue, all of us have the same goal: cleaner air that protects Texas families from the health impacts of the worst air pollutants.

I am thankful that the EPA has pledged to work with TCEQ, the companies, and the communities affected by air pollution to ensure that the Clean Air Act is followed. But the bottom line is that the onus is on TCEQ to adopt an air permitting program that complies with the Clean Air Act. Until the agency complies with the law, an unacceptable level of uncertainty regarding permitted releases of air toxics exists for some of our state's largest and most successful industries.

With TCEQ entering the Sunset process later this year, the Legislature will have a unique opportunity to closely examine TCEQ programs and make sure that the agency's air permitting process best protects the health of all Texans, as well as the environment. I look forward to that discussion, but I fully expect TCEQ to have corrected any outstanding issues long before then."