Report | Environment Texas and Environmental Integrity Project

Breakdowns in Air Quality

Texas leads the nation in energy production. But being number one also has its downsides in terms of air pollution. Well known for its hands-off approach to environmental enforcement, Texas allows industries to release excessive amounts of air pollution when old and poorly controlled equipment breaks down and when facilities undergo maintenance work. 
In 2015, 679 industrial sites in more than 100 Texas counties released more than 34,000 tons of air pollutants during 3,421 incidents of malfunctions and maintenance events, according to industry self-reported data.

Report | Environment Texas

Making Sense of the "Coal Rush"

Energy companies have proposed building a fleet of new coal-fired power plants across America. As of June 2006, power producers have approximately 150 new coal-fired plants on the drawing board, representing a $137 billion investment and the capacity to supply power to 96 million homes.

If energy companies succeed in building even a fraction of these new power plants, it would have major impacts on America’s environment and economy. Further, this “coal rush” would consume investment dollars that could otherwise promote more sustainable energy sources.

Fortunately, alternatives exist that would reduce or eliminate the need for new coal-fired power plants. By funneling investment instead into improvements in energy efficiency and expansion of renewable energy, the U.S. can avoid the potential impacts of the “coal rush” and improve the economy, the environment and public health.

The “coal rush” would increase U.S. global warming pollution at a time when aggressive action is needed to reduce emissions.

Report | Environment Texas

A Review of Texas’ and Other States’ Policies on Recovery of Economic Benefit Through Administrative Penalties in Environmental Enforcement

In December 2003, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) launched a year-long, comprehensive review of its enforcement program and practices. The review comes after a string of reports by state and federal auditors, non-profits and academics that document that the agency’s “enforcement process does not consistently ensure that violators are held accountable”.

These studies detail the vast majority of illegal polluters who escape any kind of punishment, the many large polluting facilities which go years without inspections, and the lack of sufficient resources and political will to enforce the law aggressively and provide a credible deterrent against illegal pollution.