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Advocacy Groups Say Post-Harvey Pollution Waivers Should Be Ended

The governor’s office says the waivers are under “constant evaluation”, and will be ended when they’re no longer needed.

Advocacy groups say Texas needs to reinstate pollution rules that have been suspended since Hurricane Harvey. They argue the waivers just aren’t needed more than seven months after the storm.

Limits on multiple types of pollution are still not being enforced in the Harvey-hit counties where disaster declarations remain in effect. That includes the Houston area, home to many refineries and chemical plants, which haven’t been required to report air pollution violations since the storm.

“That means that companies are voluntarily keeping track of their emissions,” said Rosanne Barone with the Texas Campaign for the Environment

Companies have acknowledged excess pollution in recent months, but since they don’t have to, Barone is worried the data could be incomplete.

Governor Greg Abbott can reinstate the rules, or they’ll go back into effect when the disaster declarations are lifted.

“The purpose of waiving regulations was to aid Houston, Harris County and the entire affected region and allow them to more swiftly respond and restore their communities,” said Abbott spokesperson Mac Walker. “This is a process under constant evaluation, and to the extent the waivers are no longer needed, they will end.”

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