May 26, 2010

Choking on 39%'s failure

Since 39% and his appointees at TCEQ have consistently failed to protect the citizens of this state in the name of ever expanding profits for the Governor's largest donors, the EPA had to step in and take over the permitting process for 40 facilities around the state. This action is, of course, unprecedented and completely due to the lack of any real oversight at TCEQ.

“We've (the EPA) never objected to 40 permits issued by a state permitting authority, and we've not federalized a permit in a state in this manner before unless we were requested to do so by a state or a particular facility,” Armendariz said. “The action we're taking today, together with the 40 objections, is unprecedented.”

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which issues permits, released a letter from Executive Director Mark R. Vickery to the EPA that lays out the state agency's efforts and communication with the EPA and said it “remains committed to reaching resolution of Title V (operating permit) objections.”

“We still have significant differences in opinion on a number (of) issues, but processes for moving forward have been developed,” Vickery wrote. “A collaborative effort will continue to be beneficial for both agencies' limited resources and the continued protection of the environment and public health.”

Oh, Mark... you've done an appallingly bad job of protecting public health. Here are just a few examples of your failure featured in the Texas Observer. We've even discussed some of the problems with the revolving door between TCEQ and industry. Frankly, you should be giving thanks that EPA hasn't turned TCEQ and 39% over to the Justice Department for prosecution under RICO.

39% was about as angry as a hornet since he's facing a stiff challenge on the campaign finance front from Bill White. Without the polluters he's protected from actually having to do much of anything to reduce their emissions, he's going to have a tough time raising money. With the EPA stepping in, they don't really need to pay off 39% any more since they're going to be spending a lot of money to actually, you know, install pollution control equipment.

“Because Texas involves the Legislature, TCEQ, business owners and the public in the process, and focuses on results instead of big-government control, our state’s air is cleaner than it was ten years ago and our economy is stronger than most other states.

That part about the air being cleaner? That's because the Fed's made us start burning additives in auto fuels and using cleaner diesel. Texas fought both actions tooth and nail, by the way. Not to mention the fact that as individuals started polluting less, industry started polluting more. The Observer has a nice little counterpoint for that 'our air is cleaner' lie...

Garcia and his colleagues frequently cite gains in urban air quality over the past decade or so. They usually fail to mention that the reductions are the result of federal mandates, or that local elected officials in the Metroplex and Houston have had more aggressive smog-cutting ideas repeatedly shot down by the TCEQ.

What pisses me off most about this is that we have a coward Governor who is the preferred cockwipe for polluters. The question is, Governor, WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOUR BALLS? Why aren't you telling polluters who refuse to clean up their act that if they leave, the state will take over the plant and run it at cost, completely eliminating ANY potential gain from moving the plant overseas to a more pollution friendly environment? You sure do love eminent domain, why the hell not use it for something good? THAT'S how you dance with the big boys, moron. You threaten to bankrupt their companies and watch how quickly they fall over themselves to do whatever is necessary.

The reality is that every other state requires far stricter controls. The only reason these businesses are here is because they know they can spew anything they want into our air and water without so much as a slap on the wrist from TCEQ. In fact, their management teams will, if so desired, be able to obtain a deeeeeelightful hummer from 39% as a thank you for making Texas home to what is usually their most pollutive enterprise.

The EPA is forced to step in and do the job we taxpayers pay TCEQ to do and 39% puffs out his chest and starts talking about the 10th Amendment? What an asshole.

Posted by mcblogger at May 26, 2010 10:00 PM

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