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Sought-After Air Monitoring Equipment Is Essential, But Data Must Be Used Wisely

Statement of Adrian Shelley, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office

Note: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) today announced that it would purchase new air monitoring equipment under 2019 budget appropriation legislation. During the 2019 state legislative session, Public Citizen called for the new equipment by testifying at appropriations hearings and sending letters to key committee members. Now that the equipment is being purchased, Public Citizen wants to ensure the technology is used to protect public health.

Minutes count when people are exposed to toxic air pollution. Therefore, the TCEQ must follow through on this new technology’s promise by notifying communities as soon as any public health threat is detected.

The agency should share air monitoring data in real-time on a publicly accessible web page so that residents with the assistance of air pollution experts can protect themselves from dirty air. Additionally, the TCEQ must enforce the law whenever it detects a violation of environmental laws. Lives are at stake.

Public Citizen called for the funding of this technology; now we want to ensure it’s used to protect public health and hold polluters accountable.