Houston Mayor Attacks EPA over Air Pollution

a clear day in houston photo

In response to our post Why do Republicans hate bicycles? Commenter Michael wrote: "Not to mention that Mayor Bill White (Republican mayor of Houston) is pushing the EPA to make refineries and chemical plants verify their emissions. Of course, considering this piece of news shows a Republican actually being green goes against Treehugger, nothing about it will get posted."

We take umbrage at that; we are not anti-Republican, we are pro-bike and pro-environment and perfectly happy to do EPA-bashing whichever the source. Here goes:

Bill White, the Mayor of Houston, thinks the air over his city is a toxic soup because of emissions from chemical plants and refineries. But he doesn't know for sure, because the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't test for it, it just relies on estimates from the producers.According to the Houston Chronicle:

White said studies show that actual emissions can be 100 times greater than EPA estimates, which are based on industry-provided data.

To produce more reliable information, the federal agency should require refineries and chemical plants to verify the accuracy of their emissions with emerging laser technology and fence-line monitors, among other steps, White said.

"Up until now, the EPA has relied on rough estimates, and the companies themselves have done the estimates," he said. "It's a simple request, but it's a very bold request. It's a request that will allow the people of Houston to know what's in their air."

White said the EPA uses formulas, equations and assumptions to determine pollution levels from refineries and chemical plants that the agency itself described as flawed 12 years ago. ::Houston Chronicle

The operating procedure seems to be the same throughout the government: What you don't know won't hurt you, so why test?

More in TreeHugger on government oversight and regulation:
EPA Closing Libraries, Destroying Scientific Documents
EPA : What, Us Regulate Pollution?
EPA Doesn't Want To Know About Factory Farm Pollution :
Bush Administration Puts Hands Over Eyes, Chants LaLaLa I Can't ...

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