78S20009 SMC-D

By:  Chavez                                                     H.C.R. No. 2  

WHEREAS, Air pollution has become an increasingly serious problem that endangers public health; as pollution has increased, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sought more stringent enforcement of the federal Clean Air Act; and WHEREAS, Any region that does not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, or lead may be designated as a nonattainment area; a nonattainment area is given a deadline for achieving those standards, and the federal statute requires any state with one or more nonattainment areas to develop a State Implementation Plan outlining a process to reduce emissions to meet NAAQS within a specified time; and WHEREAS, Currently, the State of Texas has nine metropolitan areas that either have been designated as nonattainment areas by the EPA or are close to exceeding the NAAQS for one or more of the regulated pollutants; and WHEREAS, El Paso was classified as a serious nonattainment area for the one-hour ozone standard in 1991 and is also the only area in Texas that fails to meet the NAAQS for particulate matter and carbon monoxide; and WHEREAS, El Paso's ability to meet the NAAQS is adversely affected by several circumstances beyond its control: its proximity to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the fact that the two cities are surrounded by mountains that form a common air basin, and the high levels of emissions originating in Ciudad Juárez that contribute to the high concentration of certain criteria pollutants in the basin; and WHEREAS, Section 179B of the Clean Air Act, which addresses nonattainment areas along international borders, stipulates that the State Implementation Plan must be approved by the EPA for any metropolitan area in the United States that is able to demonstrate that the area would be in compliance with the NAAQS for any of the regulated pollutants if not for emissions from outside of the United States; and WHEREAS, The EPA approved a demonstration in 1992 by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, now the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, establishing, through the use of scientific modeling, that the El Paso area was in compliance with the NAAQS for particulate matter; and WHEREAS, The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission submitted evidence to the EPA in 1995 and 1996 establishing that the El Paso area also would be in attainment with the NAAQS for the one-hour ozone and carbon monoxide standards if not for emissions from Mexico; and WHEREAS, Despite this evidence, the EPA has not yet approved redesignation State Implementation Plan revisions for particulate matter, ozone, and carbon monoxide in El Paso; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas, 2nd Called Session, hereby respectfully request the Congress of the United States to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to redesignate El Paso from a nonattainment area to an attainment area; and, be it further RESOLVED, That the Texas secretary of state forward official copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate of the United States Congress, and to all members of the Texas delegation to the congress with the request that this resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record as a memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.