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Toxic Texas
The Environmental Legacy
of Governor George W. Bush

Texas Governor George W. Bush wants to bring the agenda he championed as governor to Washington D.C. as the next U.S. president. But so far little has been made public about the actual substance of those policies, particularly concerning the environment.

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Toxic Texas Tour
As an organization made up of public employees who are concerned about Texas' environmental policies, Texas PEER feels we're in a unique position to explain Gov. Bush's actual environmental record in his home state to the rest of the country.

After five years in office, Gov. Bush's mantra for governing, "Let Texans run Texas", more correctly should have been stated as "Let Texas Industry run Texas." His administration's environmental policies have consistently catered to the interests of industrial moguls, big landowners and large contributors, particularly at the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, the state environmental agency.

Texas - We're #1

Under George W. Bush's leadership, Texas ranks number one in a many categories of pollution and environmental degradation. For example, Texas is:

  • #1 in the Emission of Ozone Causing Air Pollution Chemicals
  • #1 in Toxic Chemical releases into the Air
  • #1 in use of Deep Well Injectors as method of Waste Disposal
  • #1 in counties listed in top 20 of Emitting Cancer Causing Chemicals
  • #1 in Total Number of Hazardous Waste Incinerators
  • #1 in Environmental Justice Title 6 complaints
  • #1 in production of Cancer causing Benzene & Vinyl Chloride
  • #1 Largest Sludge Dump in Country

Texas air quality has worsened significantly under Gov. Bush's administration. The Houston-Galveston area has had eight of the top ten ozone (smog) peaks in the nation, far surpassing Los Angeles. But as concern over the health and environmental consequences rise, the governor's policy has been only to fight the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's attempts to impose stricter air quality protections.

When confronted with the option of enforcing regulations or bypassing them, Gov. Bush has consistently chosen the latter. After research showed that 1,000 unregulated, "grandfathered" industrial plants accounted for a huge proportion of Texas air pollution, Bush opposed legislation that would force the companies to clean up and instead cut a back room deal to install a "voluntary" program. The heads of these companies include some of the Governor's largest campaign contributors.

The Governor intervened to ask the federal government to let the state handle planning to protect endangered species, then supported legislation and other actions to allow development and other threats to the species to continue, so far indefinitely.

Under Bush's watch Texas has deregulated many aspects of its environmental policy, including policies governing wastewater discharges, pesticides, air pollution and even certain types of nuclear waste.

Industry consultants and boardmembers of polluting companies have been appointed to run Texas key regulating agencies. As a result, state environmental regulators have become largely ineffective, with inadequate resources or direction to enforce even the regulations still on the books. Texas environmental agency inspectors are now actually required as agency policy give notice of compliance inspections one to two weeks in advance. Texas PEER frankly fears for the nation's environmental well being if Gov. Bush's agenda rises to the federal government level. Governor Bush has said, "What Texans can dream, Texans can do." Clearly, Gov. Bush never dreamed of cleaning up Texas' environment.

Over the next few months, this web site will explore all these issues and many more related to Governor Bush's Texas environmental policies. Once per week the site will be updated to include one or more new stories related to the Governor's Texas environmental record. (If you'd like to be notified when new material is posted to this site, please sign up for our Texas PEER mailing list.)

Please come back to this site each week for additional examples and case studies documenting the Texas Governor's openly anti-environmental agenda.

The Stories:
  1. Texas PEER Uncovers Misuse of Federal Funds by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Criminal Complaint Filed
  2. Airing It Out In Texas (intro 3 part story)
  3. 225,000 Texas Children Attend School near Grandfathered Polluters (Part I)
  4. The Bush Environmental Agenda in Action: Protecting Grandfathered Air Polluters (Part II)
  5. Polluters Bet Big On Bush On The Campaign Money Trail (Part III)
  6. The Privileged Class: Bush pushes secrecy for environmental audits (Part I)
  7. The Privileged Class II: Promoting compliance or facilitating a cover-up?
  8. The Privileged Class III: Bush Contributors Back Audit Privilege Law
  9. Home on the Range at the Nation's Largest Sewage Dump
  10. Bush's quiet little war on the Texas environment: Assault on the regulatory front (Part I)
  11. Bush's quiet little war on the Texas environment: Assault on the regulatory front (Part II)
  12. Superfund a Super Deal for Texas Polluters (Part I)
  13. Bush's quiet little war on the Texas environment (Part III): Merry Toxic Christmas in Texas
  14. Superfund a Super Deal for Texas Polluters (Part II)
  15. Superfund a Super Deal for Texas Polluters: Money Talks (Part III)
  16. "Local Control" - Texas Style (Part I)
  17. "Local Control"- Texas Style: Special Favors for Special Interests (Part II)
  18. Privatizing Texas Public Parks - Public Land, Private Profit
  19. Bush Presides Over Hazardous Waste Barbecue
  20. Texas Endangered Species Policy, Part I: Shining us on with Sound Science
  21. Texas Endangered Species Policy, Part II: Salamander Wars
Texas Toxic Tour:
  1. Elf Atochem: Pollution Giant
  2. Sea Turtles Dying On The Texas Coast
  3. Special Deals for Alcoa Aluminum, Texas' Largest Grandfathered Polluter
  4. Fouling the Air at TXI
  5. Uranium Mining Pollution near the King Ranch
  6. Dumping on the Rio Grande in Laredo
  7. TNRCC Employees Survey Shows an Agency in Trouble
  8. Kelly Air Force Base: San Antonio's Dumping Ground
  9. The "Odessa Syndrome" - Environmental Racism in Odessa, Texas
  10. Big Bend: Air Pollution Threatens Texas' Majestic Landscape
  11. Corpus Christi's Refinery Row
  12. Erath County's Booming Dairy Industry Pollutes Texas' Waterways
  13. Corporate Chicken Empire Saturates East Texas with Pollution
  14. Corporate Hog Farming in the Panhandle
  15. Environmental Injustice in Beaumont Texas
  16. Sierra Blanca, the Nation's Largest Sewage Dump
  17. PANTEX: Pollution in the Panhandle
  18. WCS and Bush
  19. Ingram ReadyMix
  20. Big Pollution Problems at "Big Sam"

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