Texas Sues EPA But Houston Still Ranks High For Ozone

The fight over air pollution continues in Texas. State Attorney General Greg Abbott has sued the Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to block new rules announced in July by the Obama administration. KUHF Health Science and Technology reporter Carrie Feibel has more.

The new rules address air pollution that sweeps from one state into another state.

Governor Perry has criticized them, and now the state has filed suit to block them.

Abbott wasn’t available to comment before deadline.

But some local leaders say now is not the time to back down.

“We do not want to be one of the smoggiest populations here in the city of Houston.”

Ed Gonzalez is a Houston city councilman.

“We want to make sure we’re changing that trend. And that’s going to take a lot of effort and work.”

The advocacy group Environment Texas just released a report ranking U.S. cities for smog pollution.

Five cities in California claimed the first five spots, but Houston ranked number nine. The region logged 27 bad air days last year. And while that’s better than how the city ranked in the 1990s, it’s still not healthy.

Matt Tejada of Air Alliance Houston says bad air days can happen in one of two ways:

“It’s either because we have an emissions event in one of our heavily industrialized area —  usually coming from the ship channel — or we’ll have what like what we had this week, where we have a front come through from the north. Even though that front has really nice cool dry air, it’s full of nitrogen oxide and other ozone pollutants from northern states, because a lot of those states have not had to attain an ozone standard like Houston has.”

The Texas power company Luminant has also sued the EPA over the same set of regulations, claiming it will have to close coal plants and cut jobs.

But the EPA says that’s not necessarily the case.

From the KUFH Health Science and Technology Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.


The September 11 letter from the EPA to Luminant CEO regarding the CSAPR.

To view crurrent state ozone levels, visit the TCEQ Website.

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