260.077 Clean Air in Texas

260.077

Clean Air in Texas. The Texas Medical Association urges our state government leaders and legislators to take action and establish an energy policy that will stimulate energy savings, help to clean up the air, and encourage nonpolluting renewable energy sources. Physicians recognize that exposure to air pollution adversely affects the health of patients. We can advocate for clear principles and goals when it comes to clean air and support:

1. Reducing all forms of air pollution, including particulates, gases, toxicants, irritants, smog formers, and other biologically and chemically active pollutants; 

2. Community-based efforts wherever air pollution is producing widespread environmental effects of physiological responses, particularly if a significant incidence of chronic respiratory diseases in a community accompanies these responses;

3. Prevention programs in areas where population and industrial trends can predict the above conditions;

4. Publicly funded resources and programs at the local, regional, or state level with jurisdiction over the respective sources of air pollution and the population and areas immediately affected, to bring about equitable and effective control;

5. National primary and secondary ambient air quality standards at the level necessary to protect the public health, including setting such standards at a level "allowing an adequate margin of safety," as provided in current law, while supporting more scientific research on the health effects of standards the Environmental Protection Agency has set; 

6. Protecting certain geographic (i.e. those with air quality better than the national standards) from significant quality deterioration by requiring strict, but reasonable, emission limitations for new sources;

7. A more effective hazardous pollutant program to allow for efficient control of serious health hazards that airborne toxic pollutants pose;

8. Research on the health effects of pollution and procedures to control pollution;

9. Setting a goal of meeting the national ambient air quality standards for nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide for the long-term benefit of the public health; 

10. Emission limitations for motor vehicles as a long-term goal;

11. Including physicians and county medical societies in regional and state decision-making regarding air pollution across Texas;

12. The appointment of a TMA member with public health expertise as a commissioner to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which would help the agency fulfill the mission statement of protecting the public's health.

TMA will continue to promote education aimed at members and the general public to increase awareness of the health effects and cost of air pollution. Some other actions in Texas would be to:

Require clean coal gasification technology for future coal-based power plants.

Approve a tax on coal at least equal to the longtime tax on clean-burning natural gas.

Require the immediate installation of retrofitting of technology highly efficient in reducing all forms of air pollution including ozone-causing pollutants, particulates, carbon dioxide, and mercury on all existing and future coal-fired power plants.

End state subsidies for polluting coal-fired power plants.

Require clean coal gasification technology for future coal-based power plants.

Encourage proposals to expand renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, and to expand the grid required to deliver the resulting renewable energy to our urban and rural markets.

Offer incentives for power companies to provide businesses and consumers with hourly electricity pricing meters that will enable savings through shifting power usage to off-peak hours. New power plants are needed mainly to supply peak demands on hot summer days; financial incentives to shift usage to off-peak hours can mitigate this need.

Use energy tax revenues to extend attractive financial incentives to citizens for reducing energy consumption and investing in alternative home and business energy systems, such as solar and wind.

Phase-in strict gas mileage requirements for automobiles sold or licensed in the state.

Promote energy conservation measures for homes, businesses, and public buildings to decrease Texas energy consumption.

Bring into compliance many of the chemical plants, refineries, and power generating stations that have the highest pollution emissions but are grandfathered and do not have to comply with Texas and EPA emission standards.

Place a moratorium on approval of old technology coal-based power plants.

Require an addition to the state diesel retrofit program to include particulate controls (CPH Rep. 1-A-07; amended CSPH Rep. 3-A-17).

Last Updated On

May 25, 2017