Texans from Dallas to Corpus Christi, from El Paso to Beaumont converged at the Texas Capitol today for the Sunset Advisory Commission Public Hearing. Dedicated people from all walks of life came and some are staying past dinner time. Their main focus — Sunset Review of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality began about an hour ago and these environmental champions are digging in.
Lize Burr– In this busy season, people have put their personal lives on hold and traveled to Austin. They’re fighting for clean air and clean water, unfortunately, that often means they’re also fighting TCEQ. There’s only one Texas. It’s time for our lawmakers to help us protect and preserve it – for generations to come.
Dr. Wesley Stafford serves on the Science and Public Health Council of the Texas Medical Association. He explained — Our Council unanimously agreed to recommend that the Sunset Commission establish a permanent position for a physician as a Commissioner on the TCEQ. Texas physicians feel that TCEQ is the agency that makes more important public health decisions than any other agency in the State. There has been significant concern that public health hasn’t been a big enough consideration to the TCEQ in recent years and we feel it’s important to have a physician’s input.
Dr. Stafford and has been active in opposing the proposed Las Brisas coke-fired power plant in downtown Corpus Christi a community that experiences higher than average rates for asthma and birth defects.
It isn’t just the traditional environmental groups who are here today. We’re enjoying the growth of our movements and new groups from all over the state have stepped up concerned about the following issues –
- Existing and proposed coal plants in Sweetwater near Abilene, Corpus Christi, Bay City, Goliad, the Waco area, LaGrange, and Franklin;
- Injection wells near Conroe and the Woodlands;
- Cement kilns near Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio;
- Metal smelters in El Paso, Rockdale, and Austin;
- Refineries and chemical plants in the Houston area, Port Arthur, and Corpus Christi;
- Uranium mining in the groundwater of South Texas and the Coastal Bend;
- Water quality standards in streams and rivers across the State;
- Landfills and the WCS Radioactive Waste dump in Andrews.
David Cortez a victorious ASARCO opponent from El Paso –Despite the TCEQ’s repeated refusal to stand up to big polluters, I am hopeful that the Sunset Commission will hear what people coming from all over Texas are saying today. The ASARCO case in El Paso where I’m from makes my point. We kept that dangerous smelter closed because so many people got involved and because we had the law on our side. Now, we’re demanding that the elected representatives on the Sunset Commission hold the TCEQ accountable for their actions and lack thereof.