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Rep.Deshotel, Joe

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Deshotel Announces Cooperative Initiative  print page

by: Rep. Deshotel, Joe
04/16/2003

Industry, Consumer Groups work together to improve Quality of Life, Environment

(Austin)—Representative Joe Deshotel (Beaumont) facilitated a meeting that managed to bring industry and community together and dealt with the wide-spread problem of excessive emissions. Some of the stakeholders attending included representatives from Shell, Exxon, Huntsman ,Texas Oil and Gas Association, Texas Chemical Council and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) the state agency in charge of enforcing penalties for excessive emissions fine and penalties. Public interest organizations were represented by members of the Community In-Power Environment and Development Association, and of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition.

This meeting’s efforts were the result of proposed legislation HB 2045, which was filed by Deshotel earlier this session. HB 2045 called for tighter enforcement of penalties, coupled with improvements within the affected communities. After meeting with all parties Deshotel said,”We should not need new legislation to help solve the current problem if all parties involved would only work together.”

Deshotel received nothing short of enormous cooperation from both sides while laying out his proposal. Currently, there are no incentives for industry to participate in Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) - projects that prevent pollution, reduce the amount of pollutants reaching the environment, or contributes to public awareness of environmental matters - because it is often more expensive to participate in an SEP than to pay the full administrative penalty for emission violations. Rep. Deshotel led a discussion exploring current SEP rules that would encourage industry to participate more.

Deshotels’ plan would unite local stakeholders with public interest groups forming a community SEP advisory committee that will create SEP plans to benefit the local community. These community advisory committees will focus on SEPs having the biggest impact on reducing pollution and improving the quality of life in the community. These community-based SEPs will be provided to TCEQ for pre-approval. Under TCEQ rules, a violating corporate entity may have the opportunity to choose from the pre-approved community projects such that every dollar a corporation spends on these projects would equal a dollar in the reduction in penalties. This plan will make it just as attractive for industry to participate in SEP expenditures as it would to pay the penalties. “This plan creates a synergy helping to preserve the economic viability of industrial corporations while the community receives valuable environmental improvements,” said Deshotel.

For Immediate Release
Contact: David Belvin/Ashley Kever
Phone: 512-463-0662

Contact Info

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Capitol Address:
District Address:

Room GW.12

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

(512) 463-0662

(512) 463-8381 Fax

One Plaza Square, Suite 203

Port Arthur, TX 77642

(409) 724-0788

(409) 724-0750 Fax