Texas Observer calls out the TCEQ and those WHO support their questionable practices. Hats off to the Observer!
WHO's listening? We all are. We're watching too.
Texas has always been a state where environmental concerns are elbowed aside by moneyed interests: the cattle baron, the oilman, the multinational petrochemical company with billions in assets. Under governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry, the TCEQ has become increasingly cozy with industry.
TCEQ used those results to “prove” that benzene wasn’t a problem. And an internal investigation prompted by an anonymous fraud complaint revealed that upper managment, including Sadlier and Executive Director Mark Vickery, knew the study was flawed. In fact, they ordered that the eight canister samples “be analyzed using a more sensitive laboratory technique.” The results came back on Jan. 22, 10 days after Sadlier’s rosy depiction at the Fort Worth meeting. Four of the eight samples measured benzene at levels above what the state considers safe for long-term health. Still, the fraud investigation states, Sadlier was “not confident in accuracy [sic] of the results from the field” or the fresh lab findings, and ordered inspectors to return to Fort Worth for more samples.
It was a nice gesture. Too bad he didn’t tell anybody outside the agency. The report notes that at the time the investigation was concluded, on Feb. 22, “neither Fort Worth officials nor the media have been alerted.”