Feb. 16, 2010
Public Citizen and Sierra Club Issue Citation to Gov. Perry for ‘Endangering’ Texans
Statement from Tom “Smitty” Smith, Director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office, and Ken Kramer, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club
This morning, Gov. Rick Perry attempted to show Texas voters that he is bigger than both Texas and federal law by filing a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finding that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger public health. Instead, he just further highlighted his failure to protect Texans’ health and the safety and long-term stability of our economy and climate.
Instead of suing the EPA, Perry should be taking proactive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build up our clean energy economy. Perry likes to brag about his accomplishments in promoting wind and energy efficiency and the emissions Texas has avoided as a result, but he is also hammering through a second Texas coal rush that will negate all that hard work and add 77 million tons of CO2 to Texas’ already overheated air.
In response to Perry’s blustering behavior, Public Citizen last year sued the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for its failure to regulate global warming gases. Texas law clearly requires that “air contaminants” be regulated, and defines contaminants as follows:
“ ‘Air contaminant’ means particulate matter, radioactive material, dust, fumes, gas, mist, smoke, vapor, or odor, including any combination of those items, produced by processes other than natural,” as described in Texas Health and Safety Code § 382.003(2).
Perry has proudly demonstrated willful ignorance of this portion of Texas law time and time again, and has ordered state agencies such as the TCEQ to ignore it as well. This, combined with his actions today, have prompted us to issue the governor a “Citizen Citation” to cease and desist endangering the health of breathers, the economy and the climate in Texas by continuing to permit coal plants and other large sources of CO2.