TCEQ and EPA Must Answer for Their Willful Negligence in Monitoring Air Quality After Harvey

March 6, 2019

TCEQ and EPA Must Answer for Their Willful Negligence in Monitoring Air Quality After Harvey

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

Note: The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday detailed how the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) – with the backing of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – rebuffed NASA’s offer to conduct highly sophisticated air quality monitoring in Houston after Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017.

The TCEQ’s decision to refuse federal help in monitoring post-Harvey pollution is deeply disturbing and part of a longstanding pattern of willful negligence by both the EPA and TCEQ.

It is outrageous that both the TCEQ and the EPA – both created to protect the public from the harmful effects of environmental degradation – rejected NASA’s timely and important offer to monitor air quality in highly industrial Houston after a catastrophic hurricane like Harvey.

This willful negligence and head-in-the-sand approach to environmental protection at both the state and federal level poses a direct threat to public health. Texans and Americans deserve better. Both EPA and TCEQ officials must be held accountable for this inexplicable decision in the face of a grave public health threat. We call on the Texas Legislature to investigate who prevented NASA from collecting this crucial data and how to prevent a recurrence.

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