FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/09/2007
REPRESENTATIVES FILE LEGISLATION TO CLEAN UP TEXAS AIR
Today, members of the Houston delegation come together to announce legislation to clean up Texas air. "If you don't think this problem affects your life, try to stop breathing for a while. The air we breathe is a concern for all of us," said Rep. Senfronia Thompson. Action is needed this session to address the concerns of people from all across Houston to improve our region's air.
Air toxics have been identified as dangerous to both the economic and physical health of the Houston region. “The recent UT School of Public Health report clearly shows that even if we cannot prove a direct link between toxins released by plants along the Ship Channel and an individual case of leukemia, there is no doubt that the children in my district have a much greater risk of acquiring cancer than those living in other areas of Houston. Harris County and the state of Texas need air quality standards high enough to protect public health," said Rep. Hernandez. "There is no reason why parents in my district should have to worry about letting their children go outside to play just because we don’t have laws to protect them."
For too long, the State of Texas has been slow in responding to mounting scientific evidence that show evidence of dangerous concentrations of hazardous chemicals in our air. "It is outrageous that there are always roadblocks that keep us from cleaning up our air. We come forward today with real solutions," said Rep. Hubert Vo.
Choosing between a healthy environment and a competitive economy is not the solution. The State of Texas must work with industries to strike the proper balance between healthy profits and healthy Houstonians. "I believe that air quality is a quality of life issue. We know that the release of toxic chemicals into our air affects our health, and our economy. It is time for the Legislature to stand up for clean air across Texas," said Rep. Ellen Cohen.
The Toxic Hotspot legislation focuses clean-up efforts on areas around the state that are on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) Air Pollution Watch List. According to TCEQ, these hotspots require heightened Commission scrutiny, and 9 of the 22 locations are in or around the greater Houston area. "Nobody should have to live in an environment where the air she breathes can increase her risk of getting cancer or other illnesses. By focusing on the particular areas where pollutants are concentrated, we can get the most benefit for the efforts that industry makes," said Rep. Scott Hochberg.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, CONTACT:
Rachel McClure, Office of State Representative Scott Hochberg
Bill Kelly, Office of State Representative Ellen Cohen