The following is from the July 11, 2008, edition of The Dallas Business Journal. Professor Al Armendariz of SMU's School of Engineering provided expert commentary for this story.
Business and industry in North Texas play a role in a new long-term plan to clean up the region's dirty air, according to Mike Eastland, executive director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
The COG worked with the state of Texas, which devised the plan. A voluntary regional planning entity, COG is made up of local governments from 16 counties, including the nine counties in North Texas struggling to meet federal clean air standards.
The complicated clean air plan — which the state of Texas has wrestled for several years to create — calls for Dallas-Fort Worth to cut its smog-producing, ground-level ozone to meet the 1990 amendment to the Clean Air Act. . .
"This should give business some comfort," Eastland said. "If they continue to clean up their fleets, we ought to be in good shape for the 85 standard. ...We haven't gotten there yet; it looks like we're going to make it."
But clean air expert Al Armendariz, an assistant professor in the department of environmental and civil engineering at Southern Methodist University, disagrees. Armendariz says the plan is doomed to fail. He said he bases that on the slow annual rate of ozone reduction achieved so far over the past five, 10 and 20 years.
More reductions are needed, he says. The state should require cleaner pollution control technology on the cement kilns in Midlothian, which are huge emitters of smog-producing pollution. He also wants stricter pollution controls on power generation plants outside D-FW, citing studies showing their pollution blows into the region.
"There are a lot of places where the state of Texas can still get reductions, but they just haven't done it," Armendariz said.
# # #