This sounds pretty good.
New plants in heavily polluted areas like Houston's Ship Channel could have a harder time getting state permits under a clean air bill tentatively passed Wednesday by the Texas Senate.
Environmental regulators would have to examine the effect of a new facility on the region's overall pollution before granting permits. They also could decide that a company has to close an older plant in the same area or otherwise offset the additional pollution caused by a new plant, said Sen. Kip Averitt, author of the bill.
"We're not just looking at the individual plant all by itself, which is what we do today. We look at all of the effects," said Averitt, R-Waco.
Averitt denied that the bill represents a "cap and trade" system for companies seeking air pollution permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
"We're looking at the big picture and if there is a permit that's going to create a problem somewhere, the TCEQ going to be able to say, 'Give us some offsets or a new strategy on how to reduce emissions.' " Averitt said.
The bill, which also includes rebates for buyers of hybrid vehicles, was tentatively passed on a vote of 22-9. Houston-area Republicans Joan Huffman, Mike Jackson and Dan Patrick voted against the bill.