AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
By Dina Cappiello, Houston Chronicle Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan. 23--For the first time in at least five years, the city of Houston now has the power to bring civil lawsuits against companies whose industrial plants inside the city's limits are found to be breaking air pollution laws.
The additional muscle comes after months of negotiation between the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and city environmental officials, who, under a $3 million, two-year contract with the state, inspect and investigate the industrial plants within the city and respond to air pollution complaints. Historically, when violations were found, the city had to refer the cases to the state for enforcement, unless they posed an imminent harm to the environment or public health.
Now, when the city finds major violations, it can sue without waiting for the overburdened state agency to decide whether to pursue action against the company.
The city and the TCEQ agreed Dec. 29 to amend the contract, making Houston the only …