New EPA List Of Polluted Cities Leaves Off Houston, To Some Folks' Dismay

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The good news is that the Environmental Protection Agency has issued its list of counties that don't meet the agency's standards for fine-particle air pollution, and Harris County is not on that list.

The bad news is that the American Lung Association thinks it damn well should be on the list.

The EPA needs to put Houston and five other cities nationwide on the list, the ALA says.

"This deadly omission puts public health in the following metropolitan areas at considerable risk: Houston, Texas; Augusta, Georgia; Columbus, Georgia; Greenville, South Carolina; and Fairmont, West Virginia," they say. "In addition, EPA left many individual counties off the list despite the impact of emissions from those counties on pollution in metropolitan areas."

Areas placed on the EPA's list have three years to, according to the agency, "develop implementation plans outlining how areas will attain and maintain the standards by reducing air pollutant emissions contributing to fine particle concentrations."

In other words, spend big money trying to get the air cleaner.

The ALA essentially argues that Houston's air is so bad all the time that it didn't make the list:

The five cities omitted from the EPA's list all showed unhealthy year-round levels of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5. In its list released today, the EPA only identified counties and metropolitan areas that experience unhealthy spikes in particulate matter pollution over the course of a 24-hour period.

So, no spikes, just good, consistent pollution. What's not to like?

-- Richard Connelly

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.