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Lawmakers Want to Give More Authority to TCEQ

A group of Texas lawmakers wants to give more authority to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Houston Public Radio’s Laurie Johnson explains. At a tiny park in East Houston, just behind the swing sets and baseball field, sits a petro-chemical plant. Several Houston representatives are gathered here, including Scott Hochberg. He says their bills […]

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A group of Texas lawmakers wants to give more authority to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Houston Public Radio’s Laurie Johnson explains.

At a tiny park in East Houston, just behind the swing sets and baseball field, sits a petro-chemical plant. Several Houston representatives are gathered here, including Scott Hochberg. He says their bills would give more authority and power to the TCEQ.

“They have a pollution watch list right now. This would require them to maintain and also set the standards for what has to be on it.”

Hochberg is joined by Ana Hernandez, Hubert Vo and Ellen Cohen who says the agency has the authority to monitor increases in air pollutants, but this legislation would bolster the framework to allow for tougher restrictions.

“If there’s 150,000 somethings in the air, right now what happens is they’re trying to make sure it doesn’t become 160,000 somethings in the air, rather than turning around and saying we need to be down to 120,000 or 110,000. So it’s not enough just to say we shouldn’t go up, we have to be able to say how do we go down.”

These bills would not affect the state’s plan to lower ozone levels. The legislation centers on pollutants such as benzene and butadiene. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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