Friends of the Texas League of Conservation Voters and Care2 deserve credit for sending a message loud and clear to state regulators. More than 2,400 people signed our online petition and told Gov. Rick Perry and his commissioners at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that Texas kids and our environment come first, not special interest tax breaks for big oil companies.
At a time when state budgets, including Texas, are facing multi-billion dollar shortfalls, Valero pressed state leaders for a special tax break that would have drained at least $135 million from Texas public schools. The tax exemption would have been for the installation of equipment which actually increases emissions at Valero’s Texas refineries.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality took the right action. We could not have won if Texans had not made their voices heard on this critical issue, pressing state leaders to do right by our state’s schools, clean air and public health.
And, there’s more good news for supporters of clean air and public health with today’s announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA announced landmark Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first national standards aimed at protecting American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. Six of the nation’s top 10 most mercury-emitting power plants are located in Texas. Today’s announcement by the EPA is a clear victory for Texans – and all Americans – who care about public health and the air we breathe.
Thank you for fighting for a safer, healthier environment.
David Weinberg, Executive Director