The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has a proposal to pardon as many as 3,000 environmental rule breakers.
The TCEQ is changing the rules to allow those with a “poor” record of complying with Texas’ weak environmental laws to be upgraded to “satisfactory” — which means they would get fewer inspections, lower fines and new permits granted more easily.
In addition, the new rules would allow the TCEQ’s executive director to pardon “repeat” violators — without even explaining why.
The TCEQ refuses to tell us which polluters get the break. When we asked, they sent us almost 10,000 pages of unsortable data.
Actions like these tell citizens that the TCEQ would rather dole out favors for polluters than protect the health of Texans.
The TCEQ is the world’s second largest environmental agency. Taxpayers have a right to expect the agency to enforce a minimum standard of regulatory compliance. Lowering the grading standard does not mean businesses perform better — it just means the TCEQ is slacking on enforcement.
The deadline for voicing your concerns to the TCEQ is this Friday, March 23, so take action right now.
See the press release that went out from several advocates here. 2012-03-21 Press release – Texas Pardons Pollution
You can download an ASCII file of all compliance histories statewide by clicking here.
You can download the TCEQ test report on the current data by clicking here.
You can download a file that Public Compiled from the current compliance history data and compared side by side with the test data by clicking here.