The Houston Chronicle article Galvestons clean-up is far from over.
A sweeping legacy of clean water and the promise of clean air has been left in place despite billions in federal and state money, and residents have to worry about the contamination of their drinking water, according to residents and environmental advocates.
A new federal clean-air regulation will require that all commercial businesses, restaurants and bars have to install air filters or use alternative cleaning methods by 2021, a milestone that has raised the ire of the Clean Water Legacy Coalition, which says that’s a significant threat to the clean water legacy of the region.
“The federal government’s Clean Water Rule is the most significant environmental action in years,” said Steve Anderson, president of the Galvestonal Clean Water Coalition.
“It’s going to have a profound effect on the lives of millions of people in Texas and across the country.”
The rule was passed by Congress in December and has already been enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, but the rules have only been in place for the last three years, and have had little effect on pollution in the gulf, which sits on the Gulf Coast.
But the Clean Waters Legacy Coalition is worried about the consequences of the rule’s implementation.
“We think this is going to be devastating,” said Dan Fournier, a member of the coalition.
“We’re concerned about the potential for more contamination.”
The Clean Water legacy is the term used to describe the environmental legacy left behind by people, companies and businesses when they clean up the water after heavy industry, especially in the Gulf, where some communities have struggled with pollution and pollution-related illnesses.
The group, which includes many Gulf Coast residents, has been pushing the EPA to regulate pollution for years, but until now has not been able to get a federal environmental impact statement on the Clean Air Act.
It’s unclear how long it will take to get the EPA’s new rules in place, or how much the EPA will spend on it.
“It’s one thing to have the rule in place and a different thing to enforce it,” said Mark Schmitt, the EPA deputy assistant administrator for air quality.
“I’m not going to speculate on how much it will cost, but we’re certainly looking at the environmental implications.”
Schmitt told the Chronicle that he would be in contact with the Cleanwaters Legacy Coalition about the impact the new rule will have on the local air and water.
“At the end of the day, if you’re going to put a rule in to address a problem that’s been in existence for decades, the federal government has to enforce that rule,” Schmitt said.
“This rule was drafted to address the Clean water legacy that’s already there and that’s not going away.”
The EPA says that as of today, it has not received any comments from the coalition, and has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
But a group of Gulf Coast businesses and residents is hoping that more states and the federal agency will take action.
“There are people out there who want to see more action, more enforcement,” said Matt Miller, a local businessman and founder of the Gulf Clean Water Action Coalition.
“People want to know that the federal regulations are going to help them protect their water.
I think they’re being misled.”
The Texas Clean Water Act requires that every state have an air quality plan, which is the basis for a number of regulations.
A state must include a clean water plan on the Texas Public Information Act, and is required to provide a list of all sources of pollution to the EPA.
“Texas is one of the most pristine water regions in the country, and that is something that is very much under threat,” said Joe Tanton, a water policy expert with the American Water Works Association.
“That’s a very important thing for Texas to have in place so that they can ensure that their citizens and the public are not exposed to the pollution from the Gulf.”