April 01, 2005
Never do by 2010 that which you can postpone until later

Why do they call you Smokey Joe, Congressman Barton?

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton wants to include a provision in upcoming energy legislation allowing Dallas-Fort Worth and other smoggy regions of the country to miss deadlines mandating compliance with federal ozone standards.

Dallas-Fort Worth faces a 2010 deadline to comply with ozone regulations or face severe sanctions, including the potential loss of hundreds of millions in federal highway transportation dollars.

The proposal being pushed by Barton, R-Ennis, would allow the federal Environmental Protection Agency to extend deadlines in areas that can prove they're affected by pollution that blows in from other cities and states.

Dallas-Fort Worth officials have long claimed that pollution from Louisiana, and even from Houston 250 miles to the southeast, is at least partly to blame for the region's poor air quality.

Actually, I thought they were claiming that it was the cement plants in Barton's Ellis County that were causing them attainment issues. I can't say I've been following this issue that closely, but for what it's worth this is the first I've heard of the "it's Houston and Louisiana's fault" claim. And is this even possible? Help me out here.

Barton's Energy and Commerce Committee is expected this month to begin debating the controversial energy bill, which has been stalled in Congress the past two years. The deadline extension proposal is included in a "discussion draft" that Barton's committee will use to craft a formal bill for the full House to consider.

The deadline extension option would provide breathing room for regional leaders struggling to lower Metroplex ozone -- among the worst in the nation.


This marks the fourth time Barton has proposed legislative action to allow extending the ozone-compliance deadlines, according to his office.

Larry Neal, Barton's spokesman, defended the proposal. In a written statement, he said Barton believes that it has bipartisan support and that the issue has not "prevented the bill from becoming law."

I found this article via the blog of Jim Frisinger, the former DMN editorial board staffer who's apparently now a journalism prof at TCU. He has a few trenchant comments about Smokey Joe's delaying tactics. All I can say is that if Barton wants to claim this harebrained idea has "bipartisan support", he should at least produce a Democrat on his committee that will back him up. He's got no credibility otherwise.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 01, 2005 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack