Recently, State Rep. Ron Reynolds (Fort Bend County, District 27) filed HB 3586 to redirect the highly successful Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) to address pollution coming from the dirtiest diesel engines used in our ports and on fracking job sites. Emissions from these engines could be reduced by as much as 90 perfect affecting air quality in many areas of Texas.
About 25 percent of the ozone forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) in Texas comes from diesel engines, which can operate for 30 years for up to 1 million miles. Beginning in 1995, new emission controls were required by federal law, resulting in diesel engines built after 1995 being 85 to 95 percent cleaner. The biggest reductions were not required until 2007, resulting in engines built after 2005 increasing pollution reductions by 80 to 93 percent. The TERP program was created by the Texas legislature in 2001 to fund the replacement or retrofit of these heavily polluting old and dirty engines to reduce pollution and meet federal standards.
“The Port of Houston is poised to grow by 40 percent over the next decade and with that will come more pollution from the thousands of additional diesel engines that will be used,” said Ron Reynolds.
Houston has just preliminarily been declared a non-attainment area for fine particles by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and if emissions are not under control, businesses will have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on air pollution controls in the near future. This includes controls for pollution from industry smokestacks to local restaurants. In addition, non-attainment areas throughout Texas stand to lose billions due to restrictions on growing industries. The good news is that the TERP program has worked both well and quickly to reduce pollution. HB 3586 will enable the port community to use TERP to quickly reduce pollution in the most cost effective way.
“I hope to work with the stakeholders of this key legislation to make sure the pollution and transportation impact of growth are examined and resolved,” said Reynolds.