Everything’s bigger in Texas, it is true. Texas is the second biggest state in both size and population, and has a reputation as the nation’s worst polluter. Grassroots efforts and local government initiatives have picked up where state leadership has lacked, and auto recycling and salvage is big business in the Lone Star State. Here’s the latest in recycling and environmental news in Texas.
Gov. Perry Vetoes TV Recycling Bill
Recycling is front page news in Texas at the moment, with an unexpected and disappointing veto from Republican Governor Rick Perry at the end of the state’s biennial legislative session. The bill would have required TV manufacturers to offer recycling services for consumers of their products-extended producer responsibility, it is called.
Next year is an election year and Perry faces a stiff primary challenge from the state’s popular U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican Party primary; he is thought to be shoring up right wing support. Democrats have lost every governor’s race since 1994. This and other puzzling vetoes are in character, as Perry has a long history of surprising vetoes, casting more than any other governor in Texas history.
Recycling Activsts Use Creative Protest Tactics in Texas
With the digital switchover in television now finally accomplished, many environmental activists predict millions of old TV sets are about to hit our landfills all at once. Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs)-the projection technology used in so-called “analog” televisions and computer monitors-contain cadmium, lead and a number of other highly toxic chemicals. Over time in a landfill these poison the earth, and can even get into the water supply, making recycling a priority.
One group, the Texas Campaign for the Environment, engaged in creative protest on the day of the transition, dressing as zombies with old TVs on their heads and marching slowly through downtown Dallas. The tactic got news coverage and raised awareness for their concerns.
Obama EPA Backs Texas Activists
Environmental activists in Texas have fought losing battle after losing battle for years against Bush as governor and the Bush EPA. Local efforts, particularly in curbside and auto salvage recycling, have worked wonders, but on big pollution, big business has had its way. With Obama’s rise to office, however, things are starting to change. Get More Info
The state’s environmental commission-the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (activists stress the “ON” as opposed to a “FOR”)-has never rejected a permit for any polluter. Among the most notorious examples of TCEQ lack of due diligence were its recent rubber stamping of a copper smelter in El Paso and an approval without hearings of cement producer TXI’s newest stack. The EPA has blocked the smelter and is ordering changes in the permitting process on threat of stripping the TCEQ of this power.