Texas Liberal

All People Matter

The Air Is So Bad In Texas That It Offends Oklahoma—States Rights Views Infringe On Our Neighbors

Pollution coming from Texas is so bad that it offends Oklahoma.

From the Houston Chronicle

“Coal-fired power plants in Texas are responsible for dozens of bad air days in neighboring states each year, according to a new analysis released by an environmental group Tuesday. The study, produced by the Sierra Club, attributes as many as 64 days with harmful levels of smog in Oklahoma to Texas’ coal plants. It also ties the plants to as many as 20 days of unhealthy air in Arkansas and up to 16 in Louisiana. “The coal plants are a real problem — not just for Texas, but the entire region,” said Jennifer Powis, a regional representative for the Sierra Club, which opposes the new push to build more coal-fired plants in Texas. The report supports earlier concerns raised by Oklahoma officials about the potential impacts on their state from the nearly 30 coal-fired plants either operating, permitted or proposed in Texas. The attorney general for Oklahoma asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency in May to require Texas to show that the new plants will not foul the state’s air before issuing permits for construction…..Oklahoma, for example, had 64 days that exceeded soon-to-be-finalized federal limits for ozone in one year because of emissions from existing coal plants in Texas. The proposed plants would cause another 11 days of dirty air north of the Red River, the study concluded.”

Oklahoma is no tree-hugger place. Yet the air coming from Texas is so bad that Oklahoma is angry.

Texas is fighting the Environmental Protection Agency over clean air standards and over greenhouse gas emission standards.

It’s all part of the so-called states rights kick that Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and the state legislature are indulging in for temporary political gain.

We cannot not forget that no man is an island.

We can say we are going it alone, but all things are connected. Our bad air is harming people in other states. It is also, of course, harming people in Texas as well.

States rights is a philosophy that may sound good to some. But the reality has been that over our national history, this idea has been used to justify the worst civil rights abuses.

In this case, we see that states rights views are being used in a way to justify even more harmful activity.

I am in no way a reflexive opponent of industry.

Industry is needed to create the products we use in our lives. People need the jobs that industry provides. The technology that drives industry is an extension of our intellects.

A balance must be found between clean air and the needs of industry. The State of Texas has no interest in finding that balance. The State of Texas wants to press ahead with an extreme ideological point at the expense of others.

When even a very conservative state like Oklahoma objects, you have to wonder if we are going overboard with a my-way-or-the-highway view in Texas.

We are playing the music very loud all day long and our neighbors object. We are not the only people who live in the neighborhood.

Public Citizen Texas is doing a great job in fighting for clean air and an economically prosperous future for  Texas. Check out the Public Citizen homepage and see the great work they are doing.

( Below–Picture I took a few months ago on a cloudy day of industry in Pasadena, Texas.)

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November 18, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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