Toxic air pollution threatens our health

More than half of all Americans live in places with unsafe levels of air pollution, which causes of heart attacks, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and even deaths year.

Studies show that one in six women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of health effects should she become pregnant. This means that more than 689,000 out of the 4.1 million babies born every year could be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.

The consequences are serious: Children who are exposed to even low-dosage levels of mercury in the womb can have impaired brain functions, including verbal, attention, motor control, and language deficits, and lower IQs. When these children are monitored at ages 7 and 14, these impairments still exist — suggesting that the damage caused by mercury may be irreversible.

300,000 acres of Texas lakes contaminated 

Coal-fired power plants spew hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic mercury into our air every year, which falls to earth in the form of rain and contaminates rivers, lakes and streams. Ranking first in the nation, power plants in Texas emitted 11,127 pounds of mercury pollution in 2010. 

Wildlife that is exposed to mercury may develop more slowly, have reduced fertility or even die, depending on the level of exposure. And it doesn’t take much: Scientists found that a gram of mercury — about a drop — deposited in a mid-sized lake over the course of a year was enough to account for all of the mercury subsequently found in that lake’s fish population.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, mercury impairs 300,000 acres of Texas lakes and the entire Texas Gulf coast. 

With your help, we can save 46,000 lives

Recently, the EPA moved ahead with efforts to significantly reduce mercury, soot and smog pollution, announcing historic new emissions standards that combined could save 46,000 lives a year. Unfortunately, polluters and their allies in Congress launched a coordinated attack to block these critical safeguards.

We’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, lobbying key senators, and rallying thousands of activists stand up for public health.

It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure that the EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.

Join our campaign by sending a message to President Obama right now.



Clean Air updates

News Release | Environment Texas

EPA proposes plan to reduce air pollution in Big Bend National Park

AUSTIN - Today, Environment Texas applauded a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce air pollution in Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. EPA's action, required by the Clean Air Act, will reduce the haze that has impaired visibility in some of Texas' most loved parks. The proposal comes after EPA determined a haze plan submitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) - in which views at Big Bend would be obscured until the year 2155 - "did not adequately address" certain legal requirements. Eight Texas power plants will be required to install pollution controls to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by a total of 230,000 tons per year.   

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Headline

Tougher standards on air emissions draw debate in Houston

The EPA is considering forcing plants and refineries to cut the amount of hazardous chemicals and other pollutants released into the air by thousands of tons a year.

"It's critical federal regulations be far stricter across the board," said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.

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Blog Post

EPA proposes new rules to cut refinery pollution | Luke Metzger

The Environment Protection Agency has just released a plan to protect fenceline communities from toxic oil refinery pollution, which includes long overdue health standards and expanded air monitoring. If adopted, EPA estimates the new standards would cut 5,600 tons of harmful chemicals from the air each year.

On Tuesday, EPA held a hearing in Galena Park, TX (outside Houston) to solicit public comment on the proposed rule. Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger attended the hearing and delivered the following testimony:

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Blog Post

Meet the 2014 Environment Texas summer intern team | Luke Metzger

Every semester, we recruit and train college students to learn the skills of environmental advocacy and work alongside our staff to win real results for Texas' air, land and water. We've got a great group working with us this summer - read all about them below!

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News Release | Environment Texas

Environment Texas Welcomes EPA Proposal to Cut Refinery Pollution

AUSTIN - Environment Texas praised a draft proposal announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would require refineries to reduce toxic emissions and install fence line monitors to detect — and warn residents about — pollutants emitted into surrounding neighborhoods. 

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