While the Texas Legislature’s record on the environment is generally pretty dismal, it’s worth noting that lawmakers in the recently completed session did score a victory for clean air and public health in the state.
The legislature put $154 million into the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP), a program that cleans the air by providing incentives to replace old polluting vehicles and engines (HB 1).
Lawmakers also approved a long term solution to the problem of TERP funding (HB 3745, Bell), shifting the program out of the general revenue fund and into a trust administered directly by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This means that, starting in 2021, Texas will have as much as $200 million to spend each year on reducing vehicle pollution.
This will be a boon to public health in Texas, and a big step toward meeting federal air pollution standards.
— Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office