Whether you believe that Mayor White is meddling in other cities' affairs or taking necessary action to compensate for failings elsewhere, it should be clear that the state needs to do its job of enforcing environmenal laws. Towards that end, there is a joint legislative attempt to give the TCEQ the tools it needs to do that job properly. Reps. Scott Hochberg, Ellen Cohen, Senfronia Thompson, Ana Hernandez, and Hubert Vo have filed HBs 2722, 2475, 2890, 440, 2363, and 1740 to get the job done. From their press release:
These bills increase the range of options available to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to improve and protect Texas air. Action is needed this session to address the concerns of people from all across Houston to improve our region's air.
The Air Pollution Watch List (APWL) is a list maintained by the Toxicology Section of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality. The APWL identifies areas of the state where heightened Commission scrutiny of air pollution is warranted. There are currently 22 areas across Texas identified on the APWL, 9 of which are in or around the greater Houston area.
This legislation clarifies that Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has the authority to control air pollution as necessary to address adverse effects related to toxic air pollution. These proposals put forward various actions for TCEQ to take to reduce ambient levels of toxic contaminants, and create greater access to information of "toxic air" spots to both the Texas Legislature and the public.