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An EPA Ozone Rule’s Impact on Deer Park: Monday’s Show (February 15, 2016)

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court put a temporary hold on a new EPA rule designed to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. That ruling may have dwarfed another environmental discussion taking place here in Houston at the annual Hot Air Topics Conference hosted by the Gulf Coast Air and Waste Management Association. There, […]

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court put a temporary hold on a new EPA rule designed to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. That ruling may have dwarfed another environmental discussion taking place here in Houston at the annual Hot Air Topics Conference hosted by the Gulf Coast Air and Waste Management Association. There, public officials as well as regulatory, industry, legal and environmental professionals all gathered to discuss another EPA rule, which lowers the ground-level ozone threshold from 75 to 70 parts per billion. Basically, it requires less smog-forming ozone caused by cars, trucks, and industry.

When the rule was announced in the fall, both industry and environmental groups were unhappy. Environmentalists cited health risks as reason to advocate for an even lower target. Industry groups and conservative lawmakers opposed any change at all, calling it costly and unnecessary and noting the ozone standard had just been lowered to 75 ppb in 2008.

Some of the communities on the east side of Greater Houston are particularly concerned. While everyone wants to minimize any potential health risks, industry plays such a large part in those communities’ economies, and some officials are concerned jobs could be threatened. On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with one such official: Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton, Jr. He shares why he opposes the new rule and what he sees as its potential impact on communities like Deer Park.

Also this hour: Michael Yudin is the acting assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education. He was in town last week for two educational conferences, including a keynote speech for the Inclusion Works Conference presented by The ARC of Texas. Before he headed back to Washington, Yudin spoke with Houston Matters producer Paige Phelps about the challenges students with disabilities face.

Then: Each month, Houston Matters goes to the dogs…and cats. We welcome your questions for veterinarian Dr. Lori Teller from the Meyerland Animal Clinic. She tackles anything you’d like to know about the care and feeding of your canine or feline companion.

Plus: The Houston Rockets limped into the NBA All-Star break with three straight losses. Could a big name be traded away in the coming weeks? We talk it over with Jeff Balke, who writes for Houstonia Magazine and Houston Press.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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