On June 28, 2022, thirteen environmental groups filed a Petition with EPA requesting compliance review of the air permitting program of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The Petition states EPA must make changes to the Texas SIP (State Implementation Plan).
Alleged Deficiencies in Public Participation and Environmental Justice
States issue federally required air quality permits in accordance with a SIP, which states prepare and then submit to EPA for approval. In a news release announcing the Petition, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) claims the Texas SIP must be changed because TCEQ’s “air permitting program has for years failed to meet public participation and environmental justice obligations under federal environmental and civil rights laws.”
The Petition seeks changes to TCEQ’s SIP “that ensure environmental justice communities are protected and able to fully participate in the permitting process.”
Strong Statements in EIP’s News Release
EIP’s news release includes statements from some of the other petitioners, including this from the Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston: “Approving permits for polluters with complete disregard to where their fencelines are located, which is consistently and purposefully done in communities of color, is the very definition of environmental racism.” An EarthJustice lawyer said, “TCEQ keeps approving project after project that poses major threats to communities, public health, and the environment.”
To see EIP’s news release, which includes a link to the Petition https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/groups-petition-epa-to-address-longstanding-environmental-justice-violations/