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Mayor White editorializes for clean air

Not sure why this is in the Morning News and not the Chron, but here it is:

In Texas, we value freedom and resist bureaucratic interference. But we also understand that “a person’s right to throw their fist ends where another person’s nose begins.”

Texas took a big step backward, in violation of these principles, with the state Senate passage on Wednesday of SB 1317, which limits the age-old right of cities to protect citizens from public nuisances. Two years ago, Houston used this established right to dramatically cut levels of a dangerous carcinogen – butadiene 1,3 – emitted by a petrochemical company.

On some blocks in the mostly Hispanic Manchester area, which had been exposed to this chemical for years, most of the households of long-term residents have experienced cancer. We now seek to reduce excessive concentrations of benzene, another carcinogen, in parts of our city.

SB 1317 strips away the power of cities to protect their citizens from toxic substances put into the air upwind from large concentrations of residents.

And the shame of it all is that it didn’t have to happen. Let’s hope that the House is more responsible.

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