Austin, TX – Joined by Lt. Governor Rick Perry and Dr. Steve Hayward of the Pacific Research Institute,the Texas Public Policy Foundation today released a report entitled The Texas Index of LeadingEnvironmental Indicators 2000. The Report documents the progress made in improving the TexasEnvironment over the past decade, not withstanding rapid growth in population and employment, and isbased upon the most recent data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Toxic ReleaseIndex (TRI). Overall, 36 states are expected to see increases in their TRI for 1998-99 while Texas isexpected to see further declines, according to the EPA. Over the past decade, Texas had the largestdecrease in pollution in absolute terms and the third largest decrease in relative (%) terms among all 50states.

Highlights of the study include:

  1. From 1995-1997, sulfur dioxide emissions in Texas fell by 17.1 percent, while emissions for thenation as a whole increased 11.2 percent.
  2. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell 23.6 percent in Texas while rising 8.2 percent nationally.
  3. Emissions of volatile organic compounds, the main precursor of ozone, fell by 43.2 percent in Texaswhile falling only 16 percent nationally.
  4. Carbon monoxide emissions fell 12 percent in Texas but only 5.1 percent nationally.
  5. Although it is claimed today that Houston has the nation’s worst air quality, in fact Houston meetsthe Clean Air Act standard for five of the six criteria pollutants, and in the case of lead, has achieved azero ambient level.
  6. Sixty percent of the nation’s entire petrochemical production capacity is located in Texas (though,significantly, Texas does not account for 60 percent of the TRI for the petrochemical industry), and25 percent of the nation’s oil refining capacity. Nevertheless, Texas has seen a 44 percent decline intoxic “releases,” a remarkable record given economic and population growth in Texas during theseyears. Furthermore, air toxic releases also declined 44 percent.