A review of five years of state records by the Environmental Integrity Project and Environment Texas shows that the state imposed penalties on less than 3 percent of the illegal pollution releases (588 out of 24,839) reported by companies during maintenance or malfunctions from 2011 through 2016, even though the incidents released more than 500 million pounds of air pollution.
Despite decades of progress under the Clean Air Act, Americans across the country continue to breathe unhealthy air, leading to increased risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.
Solar power grew at a record-breaking pace in 2016. The United States now has 42 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy capacity, enough to power 8.3 million homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52.3 million metric tons annually.1 Hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially in our cities, have invested in their own solar panels or solar projects in their communities and millions more are ready to join them.
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 so far 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.
Flooding has brought significant damage to Texas in recent years. Unfortunately, continued development across the state, along with the growing threat of climate change, suggests that the challenge posed by flooding is unlikely to decrease. However, we can adapt to it. Historically, as forests, prairies and wetlands were replaced with development, people built “gray” infrastructure – sewage pipes, drainage tunnels and water treatment plants – to take over the job of water management. However, these systems are expensive to build and maintain, and their construction can produce harmful environmental impacts. Green stormwater infrastructure, however, can help mitigate flooding and protect water quality, at less economic and environmental cost than gray infrastructure. While green stormwater infrastructure cannot fully prevent flooding, it can limit property damage and water pollution, making these systems worthy of public investment.
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 getting things done.