Dirty air causes health issues for Texans, including asthma - which is prevalent among children in Texas - and heart attacks and strokes in the elderly. Cleaning up the air save lives and money by reducing emergency room visits and lost productivity due to illness.
Diesel pollution from trucks, buses, trains, ships, and off-road equipment poses a serious threat to the health of Texans, particularly in urban areas where a substantial portion of toxic particulate matter (PM) and ozone-forming pollution comes from diesel engines.
Texas consumes more diesel fuel than any other state. About 8% of all diesel fuel consumed on the highways and about 11% of diesel consumed off-road nationally is consumed in Texas. There are an estimated 6 million off-road vehicles in Texas.
Texans – especially those near the Port of Houston and the ship channel — are breathing worsening toxic particulate matter and unsafe levels of ozone. In 2001, we successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to establish the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP), which has helped reduce emissions from trucks, buses, trains and off-road equipment around the state. However, there is still much more work to be done to make the air safe in and around the Port of Houston and the other areas of the state that do not comply with federal clean air standards. We continue to work to improve TERP and ensure that it is funded. In addition, we are working with the Port of Houston Authority, tenants of the Port, truckers and other equipment operators to ensure that the TERP programs will be effective at cleaning up the air.
Electric vehicles are becoming more readily available. There are now 22 fully-electric passenger vehicles available in the U.S., and more are on the way, including pickup trucks and more SUVs. With zero tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles can clean up the air in areas particularly heavy hit by poor air quality. And with the greening of the electric grid, they can be powered by clean, renewable energy. Cities and businesses are now converting their fleets to electric vehicles to reduce air pollution and costs. Electricity is generally cheaper than gasoline and electric vehicles require much less maintenance, because they have so few moving parts, so EVs have a lower total cost of ownership (purchase cost + operating cost)
There are also electric heavy vehicles – including delivery vans, trash trucks and tractor-trailers – coming on the market. These offer great promise for reducing diesel pollution. Read our report to learn more about heavy-duty electric vehicles as a solution to pollution.
People need protection from pollution. Chemical facilities can expose their employees and neighbors to dangerous pollution in the air and water, as well as the risk of fires, explosions, and other accidents. Communities like those in the Houston, Texas, area are at risk, where over 300 facilities host enough hazardous and flammable chemicals that they must submit risk management plans. We have opposed the rollback of the Chemical Safety Rule, which we see as necessary to prevent disasters such as the Arkema explosion after Hurricane Harvey and the ITC Disaster.
We are especially concerned given Trump’s romance with the chemical industry, which we have reported on at our website CorporatePresidency.org since his administration began. In our Texas office, we also work for additional protections at the state level.