Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 28, 2010
Contact: Tina Tran, 512-463-0113

Local Legislators and Environmental Groups Urge TCEQ to Work with EPA

Houston, TX – Senator Ellis was joined by Representative Carol Alvarado, Representative Ellen Cohen, Representative Garnet Coleman, Representative Sylvester Turner, Environmental Defense Fund Health Scientist, Elena Craft, Sierra Club Clean Air Program Director, Neil Carman, and Sierra Club Senior Regional Representative, Jennifer Powis at a press conference in Houston to urge the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure TCEQ's air permitting program is in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

"I urge the TCEQ to continue working with the 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," said Senator Ellis.

This past Tuesday, the 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 the EPA. The EPA also made clear that they could do so for other permits if deficiencies in Texas' program are not corrected.

"But the bottom line is that the onus is on TCEQ to adopt an air permitting program that ensures Texans have the clean air they deserve and 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," Senator Ellis added.