Magazine article The American Enterprise

Environmental Gore

Magazine article The American Enterprise

Environmental Gore

Article excerpt

Texas Governor George Bush has been under heavy attack on environmental issues from presidential hopeful Al Gore and his green allies, who claim the Lone Star state is choking on pollution.

Texas is a big target because it is a big producer. Today the state contains 25 percent of America's oil-refining capacity and 60 percent of our petrochemical capacity; so it's no surprise it has had its share of environmental stresses. But many claims made by the Gore campaign and groups like the Sierra Club fall wide of the mark.

The latter is running an attack ad, for instance, that says hundreds of the state's industrial sites aren't complying with the Clean Water Act. But this factoid involves compliance with bureaucratic permits, not actual water quality. According to the latest report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas's lakes and rivers are cleaner than the national average.

Gore claims that since Bush became governor, Texas has led the nation in toxic "releases to the air, water, and soil." It's a big, industrial state, as we've said. But what's most relevant here is that the latest EPA data (for 1998), show Texas leading the nation in reducing toxic releases, down by 43 million pounds since Bush took office in 1995. By 1998, Texas had moved from first to fifth place for total emissions.

Gore also happily repeated an inaccuracy from the Washington Post, which claimed there is "statistical evidence that the air in Texas cities is as foul--and perhaps more so--than when Bush" arrived. …

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