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Houston's Novel Strategy to Control Hazardous Air Pollutants: A Case Study in Policy Innovation and Political Stalemate.

Sexton K, Linder SH - Environ Health Insights (2015)

Bottom Line: Nevertheless, federal and state regulatory efforts historically have emphasized compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, treating "air toxics" in Houston as a residual problem to be solved through application of technology-based standards.Opposition was substantial from a local coalition of entrenched interests satisfied with the status quo, which hindered the city's attempts to take unilateral policy actions.But since White left office in 2010, air quality management in Houston has returned to the way it was before, and today there is scant evidence that his policies have had any lasting impact.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Science, University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, Brownsville, TX, USA.

ABSTRACT
Although ambient concentrations have declined steadily over the past 30 years, Houston has recorded some of the highest levels of hazardous air pollutants in the United States. Nevertheless, federal and state regulatory efforts historically have emphasized compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, treating "air toxics" in Houston as a residual problem to be solved through application of technology-based standards. Between 2004 and 2009, Mayor Bill White and his administration challenged the well-established hierarchy of air quality management spelled out in the Clean Air Act, whereby federal and state authorities are assigned primacy over local municipalities for the purpose of designing and implementing air pollution control strategies. The White Administration believed that existing regulations were not sufficient to protect the health of Houstonians and took a diversity of both collaborative and combative policy actions to mitigate air toxic emissions from stationary sources. Opposition was substantial from a local coalition of entrenched interests satisfied with the status quo, which hindered the city's attempts to take unilateral policy actions. In the short term, the White Administration successfully raised the profile of the air toxics issue, pushed federal and state regulators to pay more attention, and induced a few polluting facilities to reduce emissions. But since White left office in 2010, air quality management in Houston has returned to the way it was before, and today there is scant evidence that his policies have had any lasting impact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Time trends from 1988 to 2008 for annual average ambient concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) for multiple monitoring sites in the HRM network.34
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f1-ehi-suppl.1-2015-001: Time trends from 1988 to 2008 for annual average ambient concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) for multiple monitoring sites in the HRM network.34

Mentions: In the Houston Metro Area, there are more than 140 air pollution monitors of different kinds measuring a variety of NAAQS pollutants and HAPs. Owned and operated by TCEQ, local governments, or private industry, these monitors operate at dozens of locations and measure ambient concentrations of more than 140 different chemical substances (although only about 40 are HAPs). According to the TCEQ33 and the Houston Regional Monitoring (HRM) Corporation,34 Houston has more air pollution monitors than any city in the U.S. and possibly the world. Monitoring data indicate that Houston meets all NAAQSs except for ozone, and that despite increases in population, manufacturing, and vehicle miles traveled, ambient concentrations of most NAAQS pollutants and HAPs have decreased since the 1990s.33–39 The 20-year time trend from 1988 to 2008 for annual average concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) is shown in Figure 1.34 From 1990 to 2013, network-wide annual average values for benzene (2.7 ppb in 1990 versus 0.48 ppb in 2013) and 1,3-butadiene (0.8 ppb in 1990 versus 0.15 ppb in 2013) have decreased significantly, a trend also observed at most, but not all, individual monitoring sites.37


Houston's Novel Strategy to Control Hazardous Air Pollutants: A Case Study in Policy Innovation and Political Stalemate.

Sexton K, Linder SH - Environ Health Insights (2015)

Time trends from 1988 to 2008 for annual average ambient concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) for multiple monitoring sites in the HRM network.34
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4310685&req=5

f1-ehi-suppl.1-2015-001: Time trends from 1988 to 2008 for annual average ambient concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) for multiple monitoring sites in the HRM network.34
Mentions: In the Houston Metro Area, there are more than 140 air pollution monitors of different kinds measuring a variety of NAAQS pollutants and HAPs. Owned and operated by TCEQ, local governments, or private industry, these monitors operate at dozens of locations and measure ambient concentrations of more than 140 different chemical substances (although only about 40 are HAPs). According to the TCEQ33 and the Houston Regional Monitoring (HRM) Corporation,34 Houston has more air pollution monitors than any city in the U.S. and possibly the world. Monitoring data indicate that Houston meets all NAAQSs except for ozone, and that despite increases in population, manufacturing, and vehicle miles traveled, ambient concentrations of most NAAQS pollutants and HAPs have decreased since the 1990s.33–39 The 20-year time trend from 1988 to 2008 for annual average concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) is shown in Figure 1.34 From 1990 to 2013, network-wide annual average values for benzene (2.7 ppb in 1990 versus 0.48 ppb in 2013) and 1,3-butadiene (0.8 ppb in 1990 versus 0.15 ppb in 2013) have decreased significantly, a trend also observed at most, but not all, individual monitoring sites.37

Bottom Line: Nevertheless, federal and state regulatory efforts historically have emphasized compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, treating "air toxics" in Houston as a residual problem to be solved through application of technology-based standards.Opposition was substantial from a local coalition of entrenched interests satisfied with the status quo, which hindered the city's attempts to take unilateral policy actions.But since White left office in 2010, air quality management in Houston has returned to the way it was before, and today there is scant evidence that his policies have had any lasting impact.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Science, University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, Brownsville, TX, USA.

ABSTRACT
Although ambient concentrations have declined steadily over the past 30 years, Houston has recorded some of the highest levels of hazardous air pollutants in the United States. Nevertheless, federal and state regulatory efforts historically have emphasized compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, treating "air toxics" in Houston as a residual problem to be solved through application of technology-based standards. Between 2004 and 2009, Mayor Bill White and his administration challenged the well-established hierarchy of air quality management spelled out in the Clean Air Act, whereby federal and state authorities are assigned primacy over local municipalities for the purpose of designing and implementing air pollution control strategies. The White Administration believed that existing regulations were not sufficient to protect the health of Houstonians and took a diversity of both collaborative and combative policy actions to mitigate air toxic emissions from stationary sources. Opposition was substantial from a local coalition of entrenched interests satisfied with the status quo, which hindered the city's attempts to take unilateral policy actions. In the short term, the White Administration successfully raised the profile of the air toxics issue, pushed federal and state regulators to pay more attention, and induced a few polluting facilities to reduce emissions. But since White left office in 2010, air quality management in Houston has returned to the way it was before, and today there is scant evidence that his policies have had any lasting impact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus