Texas Environment Policy And Federal Water Regulations
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Texas Environmental Policy and Federal Water Regulations at a Glance
From a chronological perspective, the role of Texas State demonstrated a gradual evolution that first highlighted the accessing rights of natural resources such as surface water and eventually addressed expanded subject of shielding Texans health through conserving natural resources. It was the 20th century when Texas established natural resource programs such initiatives were practiced to tackle with water rights and water resources management concerns. Subsequently, Texas embraced the broadened horizons of air protection and water resources through imitating federal level endeavors. Later on, the practices encapsulated the idea of the generation of detrimental and non-hazardous waste regulation (TCEQ, 2019). Regardless, an elongated history of the development of environmental policies and regulations, Texas is encountering exacerbated chaotic environmental mayhem both in air and water factors, which are implicitly or explicitly intertwined with the implementation strategies of environmental programs both on the state and federal levels.
When it comes to environmental policies and dynamics, air quality remains a critical and intricate challenge for the populace of the USA. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asserts that a substantial figure of one hundred and thirty million Americans are breathing in an atmosphere that does not comply with the United States Clean Air Act (CAA). The air of such populated areas is laden with hazardous substances such as benzene, sulfur dioxide, and mercury and majorly caused by industrial facilities (Li et al. 2019, 2). Different industries, including oil refineries, power plants, and chimerical producers, all are involved in a regular operation where the emission of unsafe gases and particulates is inevitable. However, CAA devised a specific regulation in emitting these and other harmful pollutants, but in some unfortunate cases, the emission access the excessive limit accidentally and widely known as upset emission. EPA elucidates that upset emissions are by-products of the startup, malfunctioning, and shutting down etcetera of source operation. Excess emissions are crucial because of its multifaceted adversaries, including the frequencies and magnitude that sometimes even go beyond the total annual radiation caused by conventional operational processes. Moreover, the implied release of toxin pollutants and gases creates significant hazards that tarnish the environmental quality and negatively impact health conditions altogether. Further, the excess limits are deemed under-regulated, even when the emanation surpasses the regulatory permitted limits for the facility. Nevertheless, the CAA is designated to control and monitor the category of such facility-based emission, but instead of enforcing the preventive measures, CAA seems comfortable in granting automatic exemptions in such case scenarios. On the other hand, the perceived affirmative defensive claims option that is sparsely proffered by states to the industrial facilities is continually worsening the situation. According to such policies, industrial facilities only have to submit a document to depict the unavoidable nature of such drastic emission, and they get an escape from contravention of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Consequently, in the wake of the approval of regulatory authority for the affirmative defense request, the industrial facility becomes free from encountering any state level civil reprimand or penalty (Li et al. 2019, 3)
Along with other air pollution issues, smog is also a prevalent dilemma in Texas. According to a recent report of State of the Air, in spite of the implied notion of relevant improvement, Houston, Texas enlisted among the top 10 contaminated cities across the United States. In the list, Houston ranked on number 9 the ranking determined on the basis of frequency of dense and polluted air from the year 2015-2017 (Trevizo, 2019). In due course, vehicles, power plants, oil refineries, and other similar industrial facilities are playing an integral role in elevating harmful substances such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Such compounds, in turn, create ozone on the ground level while heating up in the sun. The ground-level ozone is also known as smog and is a dominant causative agent of respiratory complications that may be comprised of throat infections, asthma, coughing, throat irritation, and in severe cases damaging lung tissues permanently. Despite the intensity and longevity of associated health and environmental risks, Texas environmental protection agency seems to comply with the industrial benefits in this regard. According to the Texas agency, that is authorized and liable to manage the aspects of environmental protection, tapering the smog standards countrywide associates a considerable cost, and anyway tightening of such measures are not indispensable for public health. The statement is perplexing because, for many years, Texas is combating a fight for addressing the detrimental effects of smog and health standards to deal with ozone. In this context, certain officials have raised the issue in Congress and subsequently recruited an outsource organizations services to elaborate on the advantages of tightening the ozone standards. The very firm afterward hired by American Petroleum Institute in order to launch the transformation in ozone standards through introducing bills on the national level. However, the declaration of Texas agency was a total disappointment, and even the doctors faction of Texas is asserting to take preventive measures in this area. It is emphasized that the state should take feasible and pragmatic actions instead of revolving around fabricated, impractical devising of rules (Hopkins, 2015).
Texas is demonstrating dwindling symptoms not only in air and atmosphere quality, but it is also confronting contaminating intricacies in the water regulatory operations as well. The industrial facilities are posing persistent threats to the stable environmental conditions of Texas, and policymakers and regulatory authorities are almost silent on the issue. A myriad of manufacturers and factories religiously contravening the environmental legislative implications by plunking excessive chemicals as well as other waste material into different water outlets such as bays and rivers. And in almost all the instances, such devastating practices and misconducts never impose consequences for the offenders. According to a report that was released by Environment Texas 2019, about fifty percent of industrial facilities in Texas never heed to the environmental policies and infringe the wastewater permit through decanting oil, harmful chemical, grasses, and other excrements into the waterways of Texas on a regular basis (Sadasivam, 2019). As a matter of fact, the incidents and evidence of the slacking of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are evident but the latest evaluation of circumstances doubting its efficacy in the protection of Texass water as well. Take the instance of the case of Ineos USA, who debased the underlying wastewater permit approximately eight times into Chocolate Bayou. Evidently, Ineos, throughout all the cases, has deviated from the Clean Water Acts compliance because the release waster featured E.coli and precise proofs of feces. Regardless of the frequency of misconduct and magnitude of adversaries, Ineos was never fined by TCEQ, not even once. Environment Texass Luke Metzger contends that the entire regime of TCEQ is based on slipshod and negligence. Several industrial facilities partaking in the dissemination of air and water pollution through unfair and violating exceeded levels of chemical emission and dumping the waste, and the majority of such culprit facilities do not have any external and legislative pressure to pursue the clauses of permits.
In this context, it is surmised rather observed that giant industrial facilities and corporate who have financial and legal resources to fight back the environmental policy claims remain safe under the regime of TECQ. Contrarily, medium, and small-sized businesses become most sought after victims for the states pollution and environmental penalties. Under such unfair and discriminatory practices, big wigs such as petrochemicals and refineries skip the civil penalties or any other charges meanwhile, entrepreneur immigrant businesses and gas stations have to pay hefty fines for similar somewhat lesser violations. The disparities of Texas environmental agency victimize the owners of small ventures even for meager recordkeeping violations and overlook the substantial ecological fallacies of corporate environmental polluters instantaneously (Sadasivam, 2018). On the other hand, along with this catastrophic matter of contamination of Texas water, the hydrologic statistics also demonstrate unsatisfactory flow patterns (Opdyke 2014, 821). In order to pinpoint the environmental flow standards, Texas legislation developed Environmental Flow Regime (HEFR) in association with numerous other stakeholders and Texas Commissions rules regarding environmental quality. Throughout the research, different sporadic components flows are analyzed in the context of biological implications, geomorphologic surfaces along with environmental flow standards to comprehend the utilization patterns in rights permit conditions. The study found out lower than expected environmental flow (Opdyke 2014, 820).
Historically it happened that a city decided to take the loud initiative in the absence of regulatory agility. Take the instance of Houston, Texas, which faced a legal suit famous as Appeal Group v. The City of Houston, the underlying proposition of the case, pivoted the initiatives that can be practiced if the state does not play its role in regulating air pollution (Hackney, 2015). The lawsuit that attended by Harris County took place because of the ever-increasing and disgracefully pitiable air quality of the state. It was the year 2007 when Mayor Bill White of Houston got extremely pestered with the sluggishness of Texas Commission of Environmental Qualitys inspecting modus operandi. And as a result, White aimed for a decree that permeates a certain air of authority into the Houston that sustained its potency to the inquest and register polluting facilities and determined penalty and other charges with the reference of Texas Clean Air Acts (TCAA) provided guideline. In 2008, emerged an appeal group titled BCCA the appeal group was developed as representative of petrochemical, refineries, and other industrial facilities of Houston, who claimed the ordinance absurd and pleaded for its preemption. However, the City rebutted such alleges and elucidated on the viability of home-rule influence in the scenario of providing health protection and environmental safety to Texass public (Hackney, 2015).
To put it briefly, Texas is stumbling upon environmentally hazardous hullaballoo, and federal and state governments are not playing their parts as it is expected. Devising the rules and implementing the regulations is not sufficient without the incorporation of an effective and practical plan of action. Industrial facilities, including the power plant, oil, and other refineries, are vital industrial facilities, but they are not entitled to disturb the environmental balance in making profits. All big and small corporations are equally accountable for their corporate social responsibilities. Dumping excretions and industrial waste into waterways, emitting harmful gases and chemicals into the air, forming ground-level ozone all are dejected, and unapproved social and environmental gestures. And therefore, such wrongdoings needed to be addressed, mitigated and eradicated on federal, state, and country levels. The latest status of Texas environmental policies and their implications are substandard and shoddy. If the situation depicts exacerbated signs continually, the cities of Texas have to take a stand like Houston and have to fight for their own public safety and health protection. In order to deal with environmental issues, air pollution, smog, and contaminated water and inadequate flow of hydraulic permit policies, the government has to devise multifaceted regulations and action plans with an indemnity to execute all the elements of strategy without a fragment of incongruity and influential pressure.
Hackney, Ryan. Dont Mess With Houston, Texas The Clean Air Act And State/Local Preemption - Vermont Journal Of Environmental Law. Vermont Journal Of Environmental Law, 2015, http//vjel.vermontlaw.edu/writing-competition/2009- essays/dont-mess-with-houston-texas-the-clean-air-act-and-statelocal-preemption/ Accessed 9 Dec 2019.
Hopkins, Jamie. In Texas, Environmental Officials Align With Polluters.Nationalgeographic.Com, 2015, https//www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/03/20150317-ozone-air- pollution-clean-air-act-smog-texas-houston-dallas/. Accessed 9 Dec 2019.
Li, Zhengyan et al. Racial, Ethnic, And Income Disparities In Air Pollution A Study Of Excess Emissions In Texas.PLOS ONE, vol 14, no. 8, 2019, p. e0220696.Public Library Of Science (Plos), doi10.1371/journal.pone.0220696.
Opdyke, Daniel R. et al. Texas Environmental Flow Standards And The Hydrology- Based Environmental Flow Regime Methodology.Hydrological Sciences Journal, vol 59, no. 3-4, 2014, pp. 820-830.Informa UK Limited, doi10.1080/02626667.2014.892600.
Sadasivam, Naveena et al. Dirtying The Waters Texas Ranks First In Violating Water Pollution Rules. The Texas Observer, 2019, https//www.texasobserver.org/dirtying-the-waters-texas-ranks-first-in-violating- water-rules/
Sadasivam, Naveena. Too Big To Fine, Too Small To Fight Back.The Texas Observer, 2018, https//www.texasobserver.org/too-big-to-fine-too-small-to-fight-back/.
Trevizo, Perla. Despite Progress, Houston Air Quality Among Worst In The Nation, Study Finds.Houstonchronicle.Com, 2019, https//www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Despite- progress-Houston-air-quality-among-worst-13791574.php
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