In the August issue, hitting newsstands in a few days, I write an analysis of the state of Dallas’ air quality. Many problems exist, some people are doing good work, but the most infuriating thing is the state environmental agency’s lax response to the environmental problems of Dallas. You wouldn’t think that’d be the case. But it is. Nothing better illustrates the point than this just-released report, authored by SMU professor Al Armendariz, who works in the department of environmental and civil engineering and serves as a independent contractor of sorts, monitoring the cement plants in Midlothian. Armendariz finds that the smog plan the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality passed in May will not actually put Dallas into compliance with the EPA. This despite all the public affirmations from the TCEQ to the contrary.
But that’s not the reason I’m upset. I’m upset because Armendariz does the TCEQ’s job for it, finding ways to get us into compliance — his more rigorous standard of compliance that is. And you know what? It wouldn’t be that hard to do. It would include lowering the speed limit in some areas and putting controls on the cement plant emissions that have proved successful elsewhere. That’s about it. Instead Dallas will remain filthy, the bureaucrats that run the TCEQ will remain cynical, and five years from now I’ll write the same story about what Dallas can do to clean its air and stop our kids from getting asthma. Because, yeah, our dirty air is making all our kids sick. That’s another point from the story.