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Lawmakers Wrong to Funnel Money for Clean Air to Other Programs

April 18, 2017

Lawmakers Wrong to Funnel Money for Clean Air to Other Programs

AUSTIN, Texas — Lawmakers should reject a proposed Texas House of Representatives measure to divert $40 million from the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) and funnel the money into other unrelated programs, Public Citizen said today.

“It is a betrayal of taxpayers to take money that is designated to clean the air and funnel it into an unrelated program,” said Stephanie Thomas, community organizer with Public Citizen’s Texas office. “Taking money away from TERP’s incentive programs would keep many dirty diesel engines on the road, harming women and even their unborn children.”

If anything, effective programs like TERP should be strengthened, Public Citizen maintains. Since its inception in 2001, TERP has reduced the emission of dangerous nitrous oxides—a byproduct of diesel combustion—by replacing or upgrading 17,629 vehicles, which resulted in a reduction in emissions of more than 170,000 tons.

The risks from diesel air pollution are dramatic, particularly for women. New evidence has linked diesel exhaust to increased breast cancer risks, and according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, women “exposed to high levels of air pollution while pregnant were up to twice as likely to have a child with autism as women who lived in areas with low pollution.”

“The solution to reducing these risks is quite simple,” said Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. “Leave TERP’s funding alone. The program was founded to reduce smog in our state. Let’s keep it that way.”