EPA Vs. Texas

This past week Gary Jones, PIA’s VP of Environmental, Health and Safety shared some “interesting” news which could adversely affect small business – and our industry.  It seems that the EPA is getting ready to reduce the ozone levels from its present 75 parts per billion to 70 or possibly 60.  Needless to say this is going to create some real heartache for cities like Dallas and Kansas City where the real polluters are automobiles – which are not regulated under the Clean Air Act. Guess who’s going to bear the brunt of the regulations?

Because of the time involved with the EPA approving State Implementation Plans (SIP), many cities/regions are still in the process of implanting plans from the last change (reduction) of the Clean Air Standards.  There are also some experts saying that the tools available to measure 60 parts per billion are not very reliable.  This is definitely one of those knee jerk reactions saying that if 75 is good, 60 must be better because there is no scientific proof that these types of reductions will create significantly “healthier” air.

Well, I’ll be in Austin for a meeting with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  Should be interesting.

Meanwhile I’ll share some thoughts from Patty Eldridge my PIA friend from Houston.  Her thoughts were due to additional news from Gary Jones regarding the amount of pollution (12 parts per billion) which is being transported from Mexico into Texas due to the prevailing southerly winds.  Here are Patty’s thoughts:

Steps to keeping Texas air clean:

  1. Another reason to close the Mexican border – they can keep their own stinking air (build a taller fence?)
  2. Remove all the cows, dogs and cats (bye Fido and Fluffy), trees, plants, etc. East Texas will be barren, the lumber industry will be eliminated, but it’s all in the name of clean air. {Both animals and trees emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are precursors to low-level ozone.]
  3. Get rid of the animal processing plants – large amounts of methane gas eliminated, although we can keep another large source of methane gas – Grandpa Joe (he needs to be careful though; that too could be regulated soon). We can all be vegans but you can’t use agricultural equipment because of the emissions. Can’t use horses, oxen, etc. to pull farm equipment because of their emissions.
  4. Make it illegal to have a lawn mower – you won’t need one anyway since there won’t be any grass (see Item 2). All teenage boys will either love ya (now they don’t have to mow the lawn for Mom and Dad; or hate you since you just took away an employment opportunity)
  5. Remove all refineries
  6. Remove all vehicles – since the energy and chemical companies are a major employer, people won’t have jobs to go to so they will be off the roads. Of course that will severely impact other industries and the economy and quality of living for pretty much everyone, but hey, it’s all in the name of clean air.



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