Houston Matters

How Are Environmental Regulations Impacting Deer Park? Mayor Weighs In

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.

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.

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