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Environmental Health Advocates Meeting Tonight To Discuss Toxic Chemicals

Environmental advocates from across the state are meeting together at this hour to discuss chemical pollution in Texas. EPA administrator Al Armendariz is on the panel. Wendy Siegle spoke to one of the meeting’s organizers and has this report.


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Debates are getting fiercer now that the EPA is taking control of state greenhouse gas permits. Texans came out in large numbers last Friday to back the EPA at a hearing in Dallas. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst criticized the environmental agency’s crackdown in his inauguration speech yesterday. Tonight the discussion continues.

“We’re all coming together because we would like the state of Texas to come to some agreement with the EPA on setting some carbon dioxide emissions.”

Bryan Parras is with T.E.J.A.S, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services. He says speakers at tonight’s meeting will be discussing the health risks of toxic chemicals in the air, in the water, and in the products we use. EPA region 6 administrator Al Armendariz is scheduled to speak first. Parras says he and other environmental health advocates want to show their support of the EPA’s position on the permitting issue.

“We’re trying to show that there is a coalition of folks, business included, that believe that you don’t have to lose jobs to clean up.”

He also hopes people will walk away from the event knowing more about the Safe Chemicals Act, a bill that, if passed, would make it mandatory for companies to prove that the chemicals in their products are safe before they’re put on the market.

“It’s not just a problem for low-income communities; it’s not just a problem for people of color; this affects everyone. And I think we’re just trying to show that there is a broad spectrum of support for smarter, safer, cleaner products.”

Tonight’s meeting is being held at New Living, a green building and home store in the Rice Village.

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