Lawmakers Want to Give More Authority to TCEQ

A group of Texas lawmakers wants to give more authority to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson explains.

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At a tiny park in East Houston, just behind the swing sets and baseball field, sits a petro-chemical plant. Several Houston representatives are gathered here, including Scott Hochberg. He says their bills would give more authority and power to the TCEQ.

"They have a pollution watch list right now. This would require them to maintain and also set the standards for what has to be on it."

Hochberg is joined by Ana Hernandez, Hubert Vo and Ellen Cohen who says the agency has the authority to monitor increases in air pollutants, but this legislation would bolster the framework to allow for tougher restrictions.

"If there's 150,000 somethings in the air, right now what happens is they're trying to make sure it doesn't become 160,000 somethings in the air, rather than turning around and saying we need to be down to 120,000 or 110,000. So it's not enough just to say we shouldn't go up, we have to be able to say how do we go down."

These bills would not affect the state's plan to lower ozone levels. The legislation centers on pollutants such as benzene and butadiene. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...