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December 17, 1999 - BUSH INFLATES CLAIMS OF PROGRESS ON POLLUTION

Actions Belie His Latest Proposal

Austin....In order to support claims of ozone reduction during his tenure, appointees of Texas Governor George Bush "cooked the books" to mask actual increases in air pollution, according to documents released today by Texas Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Texas PEER). Documents also show that "record" air pollution enforcement numbers have also been inflated.

The Texas air quality numbers which claimed a statewide decline in high ozone days ("ozone exceedance days") omitted the numbers for all odd years. When the odd years are counted, there was no decline.

"They say that figures lie and liars figure but in Texas they do both," stated Texas PEER Coordinator Erin Rogers. "State employees often have to look the other way when data is manipulated but cooking the books by omitting odd years could not even pass the laugh test."

Yesterday, Gov. Bush proposed new ozone fighting measures which would, in many cases, restore programs and policies he has eliminated earlier in his administration. In his latest statement to the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, Bush called for "bold" action including adoption of the California low emission vehicle standard.

His latest proposal stands in stark contrast to his previous actions to:

* Cut the vehicle inspection program in the dirtiest air basins;
* Delay stricter federal ozone standards; and
* Champion voluntary compliance rather than enforcement against air pollution violators.

"If his pollution policies have been so good why do we need ‘bold' reform this week?," asked Rogers. "Until this week, the pronouncements of Texas environmental officials on air quality have parroted the rhetoric of industry lobbyists."





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