Texas Legislature boosts prospects for clean air

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