May 16, 2007
Bonnen versus Bonnen

From the Texas League of Conservation Voters, the latest shenanigans by Rep. Dennis Bonnen:

Chairman of the House Environmental Regulations Committee, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, is threatening to kill his own clean air bill, SB 12, to avoid a floor vote on regulating toxic air emissions in Texas. Yesterday, Houston Representative Jessica Farrar offered an amendment to SB 12 that would set statewide standards for toxic air emissions in Texas. Rather than make House members cast a record vote, Bonnen twice chose to postpone SB 12.

"I'm not sure what Chairman Bonnen is afraid of. Is he afraid that Members might actually vote for cleaning up toxic air emissions, or is he afraid that voters will punish those Members who vote against it?" said Colin Leyden, Executive Director for the Texas League of Conservation Voters.

Unlike ozone, there are currently no federal or state standards for toxic air emissions. Toxic air became an issue in a number of House races in the Houston area in the 2006 election. In the 2005 session, former state representative, Martha Wong, consistently voted against amendments to address the problem, and those votes were used against her in the race. She was defeated by Rep. Ellen Cohen who has filed a bill to clean up toxic emissions this session.

"I find it telling that Bonnen, who as chairman of Environmental Regulation is tasked with the job of cleaning up our air, is threatening to kill his own clean-air bill over an amendment that further cleans up our air. Rather than play by the rules everyone else does, he's taking his ball and going home," said Leyden.

Chairman Bonnen repeatedly referred to the Houston Chronicles editorials and stories covering the ongoing failure of the Texas Legislature to deal with serious air pollution in Houston. He seems more concerned with hiding the ball from the public than dealing with the legislative business assigned to his committee.

This bill is apparently scheduled to be heard tonight at 7. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 16, 2007 to That's our Lege