Gov. Abbott’s Suspension of Environmental Rules After Tropical Storm Imelda Threatens Public Health
Statement of Adrian Shelley, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office
Note: Today Gov. Greg Abbott suspended environmental rules in the wake of Tropical Storm Imelda. A similar rule suspension after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 lasted seven months without explanation, only to be lifted without explanation under pressure from public health advocates. Public Citizen opposes environmental rule suspensions as bad public policy and has requested the governor reverse his decision immediately.
Hours after Tropical Storm Imelda hit Texas, Governor Abbott and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) have rushed to let polluters off the hook by offering them a blanket suspension of environmental safeguards.
The TCEQ can use enforcement discretion to forgive unavoidable pollution events that occur during a disaster. Rule suspensions are unnecessary and send a message that public health protections are unimportant. We call on Governor Abbott to reinstate public health safeguards immediately. The state has bigger priorities related to this disaster.