fb tracking

TCEQ Permitting Has Been Broken for a Long Time, Public Citizen Says in Response to Patrick Letter

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Patrick called on the TCEQ to pause cement kiln permitting, citing community concerns

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s request this week that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) pause all cement kiln permitting is a delayed yet welcome recognition of the agency’s broken permitting practices, which many communities have complained about for years.

In a Tuesday letter, Patrick asked the agency to stop issuing permits to cement kilns until the Texas Legislature can address permitting when it next meets for its regular session in 2025. Patrick’s request followed a town hall he hosted in Grayson County, where residents expressed concern about a proposed cement project.

Adrian Shelley, Texas director of Public Citizen, issued the following response to Patrick’s letter:

“Dan Patrick is now learning what communities across Texas have known for a long time: permitting is broken at TCEQ. Many of those same communities travel to Austin every two years to beg lawmakers for help, but they are largely ignored.

“Patrick’s desperate move to save one community won’t fix a broken system. Vulnerable neighborhoods across the state need more than strongly worded letters; they need strong legislation that protects public health, not the corporate bottom line.”

TCEQ leadership and staff have asserted that the agency has no authority to deny a permit that is otherwise complete. During last session’s Sunset review of the agency, Public Citizen and others advocated for language that made clear what would seem obvious to many:  that Texas’ environmental regulator has the authority to deny permits that are not good for the environment.