The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is doing very little and working slowly at what little they do. Pollution output is on the rise and environmentalists are getting restless.
The vacancy in TCEQ’s leadership isn’t helping matters. The three commissioner panel that oversees the TCEQ has been one person short for a little more than a year since then-chairman Bryan Shaw retired.
The EPA is considering repealing a rule that limits methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) responded saying that this type of repeal could cause an increase of 5 million metric tons annually.
Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas, and although it has a shorter half-life it is much more potent. Methane can trap up to 80 times the heat in its 20 first years in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
Because Texas has no regulations specifically governing methane emissions, the EPA’s decision could have major consequences for Texas, according to the EDF.
The EDF also reported that satellite data of natural gas flare-ups was at odds with the amount reported by the state. A separate study from Texas A&M found discrepancies with the state’s data as well.
As the data showing the flaws in TCEQ’s approach to regulation is piling up, the agency’s lack of action is becoming harder to explain away. While some Texas-based companies are committing to lessening greenhouse gas emissions on their own, Texans can’t count on the kindness of corporations.