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What Is The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality?

Background

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ), known as the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission until 1993, is Texas’ state environmental agency. The agency was created by the Texas Legislature in 1991, after combining the Texas Water Commission and the Texas Air Control Board to provide synthesis and cohesion in environmental standards. The agency focuses mostly on promoting clean air and water and the safe management of waste in Texas. It also serves as a watchdog for the protection of the state’s natural resources.

Texas and the TCEQ have not always been in compliance with federal environmental standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has caused some friction between the two organizations. The TCEQ has also received complaints from other environmental groups in Texas. In 2010 they faced a lawsuit from The Aransas Project (TAP), a nonprofit focused on water conservation. TAP accused TCEQ of poorly managing the Guadalupe River Basin leading to the deaths of some whooping cranes. The birds are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The TCEQ also faced criticism from the Sunset Advisory Commission in its evaluation of the organization.

Latest Posts

Legislation Aims to for More Oversight of Scrap Metal Recycling in Texas

Houston area residents who live near some scrap metal recycling facilities are inhaling dangerous levels of a metal carcinogen called Chromium Six. It’s the same pollutant at the heart of the class action lawsuit portrayed in the film Erin Brockovich. The Houston Chronicle first reported about the pollution in 2012, after the city received 189 complaints [...]

Environmental Group Wants Loophole Closed On Oil And Gas Pollution

Lawsuit Filed in Washington Hits Home With Houston’s Biggest Industry According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the biggest source of air pollution in Texas are oil and gas wells, emitting far more pollution than petrochemical plants or refineries. Yet, federal law exempts those drilling operations from having to report all their chemical releases to [...]

Texas Enviromental Regulators Question Ozone’s Impact On Health

The Texas agency that regulates industries that pollute, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, is questioning federal research into the health threat posed by breathing ozone and is using its website to publish articles that critics call “provocative” and “misleading.” First, some background. Houston has an ozone pollution problem and so do Dallas and big [...]

Will Texas Even Bother Trying to Comply With EPA’s Clean Power Plan?

As greenhouse gases reach their highest concentrations in human history, the Obama administration has pledged to take action on climate change, unveiling a Clean Power Plan this summer to go after a prime target of those emissions: coal power plants. And true to form, that plan is running into opposition from lawmakers and regulators in [...]

Texas Officials Blast New Pollution Rules For Power Plants

In Austin, business leaders and politicians blasted new federal rules aimed at reducing air pollution from power plants. At a hearing held by the Texas Public Utility Commission, there were dire predictions of a ruined Texas economy and higher electricity costs for residents. Hour-after-hour, the three members of the Texas Public Utility Commission heard why the state’s [...]

Texas Slams EPA Website that Compares State Pollution Enforcement

Petrochemical complex in the Freeport/Lake Jackson area

Compared to other states, Texas has a consistently higher percentage of major industrial plants with “high priority violations” of air pollution laws. Yet, compared to other states, Texas does far fewer comprehensive inspections of polluting facilities. Or at least, that’s what data seem to show on website run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Not [...]

Pollution From Ship Channel and Port Traffic Affects Galena Park

From KUHF News:  The city of Galena Park is on the north side of the Ship Channel, surrounded by highways, freight rail lines and heavy industry. It has about 10,000 residents. The city’s main road, Clinton Drive, is a major artery for the Port of Houston and Ship Channel industries, according to Bel Vasquez-St. John, [...]

Winners and Losers in Texas from Greenhouse Gas Ruling

New EPA regulations would place new restrictions on coal-burning power plants, a major source in Texas for greenhouse gases

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week on a lawsuit over how much latitude the federal government has to regulate facilities that emit greenhouse gases, victory was claimed both by environmentalists who want more regulation and by Texas state officials who wants less. Texas and 16 other states brought the action. The Texas Attorney [...]

Proposals to Prevent Another Fertilizer Explosion Immediately Meet Resistance

The explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas last year took much more than fifteen lives. At least 262 people were injured; twenty percent of those were brain injuries. Homes and schools were destroyed. But judging from the response of some state lawmakers charged with stopping it from happening again, preventable [...]

Here Are 5 Challenges to Texas Water That Might Surprise You

With nearly 70 percent of the state still stuck in a drought that has dragged on for years, there’s been plenty of talk about how to strengthen water supplies in Texas. A multi-billion-dollar water fund (the passage of Proposition 6 last election) is in the works that will help fund projects like reservoirs, desalination and conservation. And there’s ongoing [...]

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