December 9, 1999
GUTS POLLUTION CONTROLS
Ends Surprise Inspections
& Ozone Monitoring
Austin....During his first year in office as Governor of Texas, George
Bush set a course to dramatically weaken environmental protections,
according to documents released today by Texas Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility (Texas PEER). Soon after inauguration,
Bush took a series of steps to dismantle pollution controls:
* In his first budget Gov. Bush proposed a 20% cut in the funding
for the state's pollution control agency, the Texas Natural Resources
Conservation Commission (TNRCC); double the reduction proposed for
any other agency.
* Texas ended a nearly quarter-century practice of surprise pollution
inspections for regulated industries and required inspectors to announce
visits in advance, in some case giving at least two weeks notice.
* TNRCC stopped publicizing ozone levels during peak pollution periods
in the Houston air basin (now the dirtiest in the country) and instead
lobbied to have ozone standards reduced.
Bush avoided public health and environmental professionals and instead
chose business executives and representatives to fill key environmental
"Not only did Bush remove environmental cops from the beat but he
tied the hands of those who were left," stated Texas PEER Coordinator
Erin Rogers. "Announcing pollution inspections in advance is like
giving students the answers to exams — how does the public benefit
from this policy?"
NOTE: More on gutting anti-pollution laws next week when we describe
how, under Bush, TNRCC has been cooking the books on pollution.
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