Chairman Shaw tries to fast-track Las Brisas pet-coke plant

Chairman Shaw at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality didn’t hesitate today to demonstrate that he puts the concerns of industry over public health and state law. In an unusual “status update” before the Commissioners today on the Las Brisas Energy Center application for an air permit, Chairman Shaw said “Anything we can do to facilitate making a timely decision on this matter, we’re committed to.”

But timely for who? Chairman Shaw was referencing Las Brisas’s request to have an air permit in hand prior to EPA’s new rules regulating green house gas emissions, set to be released on January 2, 2011. But isn’t the TCEQ there to protect the citizens of Corpus Christi from illegal air pollution — pollution like the tons (yep, tons of pollution) of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and mercury. And since when is the state charged with helping an applicant get around rules and regulations?

Once again, Chairman Shaw and Commissioner Rubio demonstrated that the TCEQ is a broken agency that needs a culture change. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality shouldn’t be rubber stamping permits to pollute, nor “committing” to do anything to help an applicant avoid rules and regulations that are there to protect our health. It’s time to revise the TCEQ. Get involved in the Sunset process and learn more about what you can do put our environmental agency back on track.

The Caller-Times has the story.

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