In Texas, Support for EPA Action on Emissions

"The people of Texas deserve better than this. We applaud and affirm EPA’s decision to step into the breach."

01-14-2011 // Max Greenberg
Factory smoke stacks

As mentioned earlier this week by NWF's Director of Global Warming Policy Joe Mendelson, Texans, representatives of industry and conservation groups convened in Dallas today for a public hearing to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) role in ensuring Texas' adherence to a national plan to reduce carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act.

Texas is the lone state refusing to develop implementation plans to comply with the act despite a 2007 Supreme Court decision that determined carbon dioxide is considered a harmful pollutant subject to regulation.

Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation's South Central Regional Center Susan Kaderka was among those testifying.

"The National Wildlife Federation strongly supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s actions to correct Texas’ flawed air permitting program by providing federal permits for new construction or modification of plants that emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases. We believe this is the time for swift and effective action to cut global warming pollution, and it is both appropriate and necessary for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in where our state government has refused to take action," Kaderka said.

Kaderka's testimony focused on the current and future environmental consequences of a failure to regulate carbon pollution in what ranks as the nation's largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions: 

"If the climate change that is already occurring is allowed to continue unabated, future generations will inherit a very different Texas. Rising sea levels will threaten the incredibly productive wetlands and estuaries of the Texas Gulf coast, inundating large areas of wetlands that provide habitat for millions of migratory birds and waterfowl and upsetting the delicate balance of fresh and salt water that today supports commercially and recreationally important fisheries. Stronger storms will cause more flooding in urban areas like Houston, where it already floods when there’s a lot of rain. The droughts that many areas of the state have experienced in recent years will become more frequent and more prolonged and larger portions of the state will turn to desert. The beautiful pine forests of east Texas may fall victim to infestations of insects like the pine bark beetle, which is already damaging forests in the western United States. In short, if we do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Texas we pass on to our grandchildren will be a very different place."

Read Susan Kaderka's full testimony here  (PDF). 

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