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EPA Task Force Holds Event in Houston

HOUSTON, TEXAS – Today, Congressional EPA Task Force membersRep. Joe Barton (TX-6), Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02), Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22), Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-8) visited the Houston Ship Channel to learn about the latest efforts to improve the environment and air quality in the Houston area. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) provided demonstrations of several pieces of high tech, mobile air quality testing equipment being used to track and measure the progress of improving air quality in Texas. Members were also briefed by industry leaders to learn more about how EPA regulations have destroyed jobs and business in Texas.

 “If you listen to folks that don’t think a lot about Texas you would think that our air quality is going downhill, but from 2000 to 2010 it has actually improved and this is while we added 4 million new residents and created more jobs than any other state in the union,” said Rep. Joe Barton. “I’m not a climatologist, but I can read election results and it looks to me like the Obama Administration has decided to be punitive toward our state  – the biggest Republican State – and they are doing it by picking on our successful flexible air quality permitting process.”

 Rep. Pete Olsonsaid, "Texas is in the crosshairs of a radical EPA that refuses to acknowledge the fact that our state has been a national leader in increasing energy production and reducing pollution. Yet, the EPA has repeatedly usurped state authority and continues to push damaging policies that will destroy jobs and hurt an already weak economy without improving air quality.  My colleagues and I will continue to demand accountability and transparency and fight EPA policies that hurt our economy."

 “The EPA is punishing Texas for not giving in to their demands. Instead of making an example out of Texas, perhaps the EPA should use Texas as an example,” said Rep. Ted Poe.  “Texas has simultaneously improved its environment and economy. Our state is dedicated to finding cleaner energy alternatives, but we also know that we need to utilize our known sources of energy effectively and safely. “

 "Obama Administration officials keep chanting they are all about jobs, but their regulators continue to take actions that put Americans out of work,” said Rep. Kevin Brady. From drilling moratoria to global warming rules, this administration's policies are holding our economy back. The EPA is currently pushing nearly 30 major new rules and over 170 other actions, but what they won't do is consider the impact their reams of rules have on our workers and their families. The EPA needs to Stop Messing with Texas."

 Industry officials explained that chemical plants and refineries directly employ 75,000 Texans, with another 400,000 related jobs state wide. They also pay more than $1 billion in state and local taxes.

All these jobs and tax revenue were created while industry reduced emissions, which contributed to improving air quality around the state.

 The Congressional EPA Task Force is made up of state and federal officials, who are on the front lines of protecting Texas from the job-destroying over-regulation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. During a question and answer session the group discussed what has been going on legally and legislatively in Washington and Austin. The task force will continue to work on strategies that will protect Texas’ environment while at the same time promoting economic growth. They have been holding events like this around the state to draw attention to Texas successes in the areas of economic growth and environmental protection.