Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day. Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country. As our report shows, states are failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school. Instead of waiting for more testing, we need to proactively remove the lead pipes and plumbing at the root of this toxic hazard for our children.
As faculty and staff concerned about the warming of the earth that is changing our climate, we urge our nation's universities to make a rapid and steady shift away fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need nothing less than a commitment to meeting all our energy needs with abundant, pollution-free renewable energy by no later than 2050.
Industrial facilities in Texas continue to violate their Clean Air Act permits by releasing large amounts of air contaminants during “emissions events” or “upsets” — the regulatory terms used to describe unauthorized emissions from equipment breakdowns, process malfunctions, operator errors or maintenance work. Emissions events are supposed to be accidental, unanticipated releases of air pollution. However, the data show that these events occur so frequently as to be almost routine at some facilities, and often involve large releases of health threatening pollution. A recent study found that emissions events in Texas lead to the premature deaths of at least 16 people and $148 million in health-related costs per year. According to reports filed by companies through the State of Texas Electronic Emissions Reporting System (STEERS) in 2017, 275 companies reported 4,067 breakdowns, maintenance incidents, and other emissions events that resulted in the release of more than 63 million pounds of illegal air pollution.
Governors have extensive power to reduce carbon pollution and put their states on a path to clean energy – often with just a stroke of the pen. Over the last decade, governors have adopted sweeping emission reduction goals, accelerated the transition to clean energy, forged regional agreements to tackle climate change, and appointed leaders of state agencies empowered to implement policies to reduce pollution in buildings, at electric utilities, in transportation and throughout the economy.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.