EPA to launch investigation into permitting process for concrete batch plans in Harris County
Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and other local leaders will address the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s recent announcement that it will investigate the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ)’s concrete batch permitting criteria and processes under federal civil rights laws.
Fifth Ward residents living in cancer cluster call out Mayor, state senators over campaign contributions from Union Pacific
Ever since the first Fifth Ward cancer cluster was confirmed by the state department of health in 2019, numerous city and state elected officials have shown up to meetings declaring support for residents and promising to hold Union Pacific accountable for the decades-long contamination at its nearby rail yard.
Harris County Attorney files lawsuit against TCEQ challenging pending changes to air quality standards for concrete batch plants
Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of Harris County against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The lawsuit challenges an amendment to the commission’s air quality standard permit for concrete batch plants.
Texas’ Proposed Plan To Reduce Haze In Its National Parks Falls Short, Critics Say – Houston Public Media
A federal rule requires states to reduce air pollution in their national parks and wilderness areas. But for the second time, Texas' plan includes no additional emissions controls for industrial plants, which environmental groups say is necessary.houstonpublicmedia.org
Twitter feed alerts people to pollution problems
But, if you’re concerned about the dangers of pollution, there is a way you can track air pollution right on your phone. Ad“We were lacking some resources, yes,” said Dr. Latrice Babin, director of the Harris County Pollution Control Services. Kuukibot: Pronounced “Cookie bot”Now, citizens are learning about a Twitter feed named Kuukibot, pronounced like cookie-bot, that robotically broadcasts air quality issues in short digestible burst via Twitter. New initiative with Harris County Precinct 2January Advisors is also working with Harris County Precinct 2 on a similar initiative. For now, though, Harris County Pollution Control does not appear to be onboard with January Advisor’s publicly facing Kuukibot.
Over 14 million Texans still don’t have safe drinking water in their homes
HOUSTON – More than 14 million Texans still do not have safe drinking water in their homes after a powerful winter storm burst pipes and knocked out power across the state this week. Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said the number of the state’s 7,000 public water systems affected by the winter storm has increased from Friday to 1,445, but the population affected by those water systems has dropped slightly to 14.3 million. He said about 156,000 homes have no water service at all, which is down from 352,000 reported Friday. Kidd said the state has also ordered 250,000 meals-ready-to-eat to be distributed with another 5 million meals on the way. Kidd said Texans can also help the state complete its damage assessment faster by completing an online form to report damage that their property has sustained.
‘Far too burdensome’: Abbott pivots to recovery efforts as winter storm exits Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday prioritized the restoration of water and power to thousands of Texas homes still left dry and cold after this week’s winter storm. “This past week has been an enormous challenge, maybe unlike any challenge that you’ve ever dealt with before,” Abbott said. “It has been far too burdensome for the lives of all those affected.”Abbott said about 165,000 homes are still without power, mostly in Central Texas. Abbott said he has also requested an emergency declaration from the federal Department of Agriculture to help farmers impacted by the storm.
State agency unveils new technology aimed at closing air quality monitoring gap
HOUSTON – Channel 2 Investigates uncovered a lapse in a safety net that so many of our communities depend on. A gap in air quality monitoring where dangerous chemicals could be released into the air. Nearly two months after our report, the Texas Commission On Environmental Quality is unveiling new technology aimed at improving that effort. Network of 200 Stationary Air MonitorsOne of the criticisms has been, right before a hurricane rolls in, the fixed air monitoring stations would go offline when they’re needed most as plants and refineries burn off excess chemicals as they’re being shut down. “Get real time data about the air, not just where our stationary air monitors are but all around the facility is going to be a game changer for us,” Baker said.
8M pounds of pollutants released before and after Hurricane Laura but air quality monitors were taken offline
HOUSTON – As Hurricane Laura barreled toward the Gulf Coast a few weeks ago, in and around Houston, plants and refineries scrambled to shut down. During the shutdown and restart process surrounding Hurricane Laura, energy companies reported to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) that 8 million pounds of emissions were released in Harris, Brazoria, Jefferson and Orange counties. There’s some opinion there but here’s a fact:During that exact same period that refineries shut down for Hurricane Laura, the state of Texas unplugged its air quality monitors in the storm’s path. Our state’s version of the Environmental Protection Agency is the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). See what TCEQ did in response to Hurricane Laura.
Federal, state lawmakers join residents’ efforts to stop expansion of acres homes concrete plant
HOUSTON – Neighbors and city of Houston officials claim Soto Ready Mix is the source of serious environmental and health issues in Acres Homes. Residents said they are being backed by major political players as they work to stop the planned expansion of the concrete company. Soto Ready Mix sits on the corner of T.C. “The disrespect and the arrogance of facilities of this kind being situated in the neighborhood are unacceptable in the city of Houston,” Turner said. The owner of Soto Ready Mix did not respond to KPRC’s request for comment.
City health officials survey families in ‘cancer cluster’ neighborhoods
Why the Survey Matters“We know that the contaminants in the groundwater plume are carcinogenic and we know that this community has a cancer cluster—that means elevated cancer cases—and the TCEQ actually requested the cancer cluster analysis,” Dr. Lauren Hopkins, the Houston Health Department’s Chief Environmental Science Officer, said. Hopkins said they know that there is a carcinogenic chemical plume contaminating underground water underneath approximately 110 homes in Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens. A Community in ActionThe study sparked a fiery response from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, as well as Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Houston Health Department and community groups. IMPACT Greater Houston and the Houston Health Department informed residents about the community meetings on January 13 and February 10, when the Houston Health Department plans to release the results of Saturday’s survey. Jackson-Lee is also working with the state and federal officials and planning a large-scale stakeholder meeting on January 21 in the Fifth Ward at 7 p.m.