Dallas-Fort Worth's Air Now Dirtier Than Houston's? Yep, Air Quality Watchdogs Say.

Categories: The Environment

Thumbnail image for smoggydallas.jpg
Photo by Justin Cozart
In Texas, Houston and filthy air have always been synonymous. But the Armpit of Texas has just been dethroned. For concentrated, ozone-laced air pollution, Dallas-Fort Worth has outstripped the country's petrochemical hub as the EPA's worst offender.

According to watchdog group Downwinders at Risk, DFW exceeded air-quality standards more often during 2011 than Houston. Striking, no? Automobile pollution certainly plays a role, but not the biggest one. Natural gas production in the Barnett Shale is thought to be the biggest contributor. According to a 2009 study, emissions from all car and truck traffic in the nine-county Metroplex came to 273 tons per day. Emissions from oil and gas production totaled 307 tons per day during peak summer months.

So what's the state's plan? "After 20 years the state has never gotten a [State Implementation Plan] right," Downwinders director Jim Schermbeck tells Unfair Park. "This is the most lackadaisical SIP that's ever come along. This just says we're gonna have people buy new cars. In the real world this would never work."

For its plan to reduce smog-forming emissions, the state is banking on people buying newer, cleaner cars. In this economy. With this unemployment rate. As for the Volatile Organic Compounds emitted in gas production, Schermbeck says the plan only reduces them by 14 tons per day.

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27 comments
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psara78
psara78

Seriously, calling Houston that name is basically limited to insecure Dallas douches these days. Get real and get with the times. Everyone knows the official armpit of Texas is Port Arthur.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Justin C
Justin C

what is it with you people stealing my damn photos without credit? http://www.flickr.com/photos/f...

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Sorry, Justin -- that's on me. I grabbed it out of the virtual, digital archives, and there was no name attached to it. I will remedy pronto.

Justin C
Justin C

this is the 8th time you've done it, after 10 times i'm going to write and ask you to send me an observer beer cozy. 

ohai
ohai

...Buy new cars.

I'LL GET RIGHT ON THAT.

Ashley Richardson
Ashley Richardson

Hasn't anyone seen Gasland? If so, this should come to no surprise whatsoever. 

houston emergency room
houston emergency room

The offense is that there's no sense of importance indealing with a matter that will have grave affects on physical condition carebut I don’t keep in mind more than 1 or 2 level red toxic waste days thissummer, which seems well underneath other summers. 

Politico
Politico

Great, Dirty air and Dirty politicians in Dallas. They go together like P & B!!!!!!!!!!!

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

P & B = Perry and Barton?  Why not...

Politico
Politico

Oops, forgot the J - PB&J. 

Storm_71
Storm_71

Since the Mavs can't hang there banner tonight may we can hang a #1 dirty air banner tonight at city hall!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest
Guest

You know what the problem is? Too much regulation.

If people wanted clean air, they'd buy it on the free market.

SteveT
SteveT

Drill Baby, drill! (and Drive baby, drive!).  I guess the water taxis won't help this problem.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

Thank you Prick Perry!

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

You are right!  Thank you Joe Barton for all the lung problems that the folks in north Texas have to suffer through so that you can make a buck.  I bet you own stock in every hospital in Dallas.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

Oops!  While we are at it, we should thank all of those mindless sheep that continue to vote for Prick Perry and Joe Barton.  Thanks a bunch fellow citizens for killing us with your uninformed robot voting. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

not saying our air isnt bad, but I dont remember more than 1 or 2 level red pollution days this summer, which seems well below other summers.  did the qualifications for certain levels change?

scottindallas
scottindallas

I think they've raised the standards several times.

G_David
G_David

I was wondering that myself.  Mainly whether ours has gotten that much worse, or if Houston has done a better job of cleaning up its act.  As a cyclist, there were FAR fewer days this year where I had trouble catching my breath than any year out of the last 10.

Bookends
Bookends

Hard to compete with Port Arthur or El Paso for armpit supremacy in this state.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Baytown man, dont drive over the bridge with the windows down or the fresh air button on! 

Brandolon
Brandolon

Read another interview with Schermbeck on Green Source DFW not long ago - http://greensourcedfw.org/arti.... Points out many of the same issues. It's a bad time for North Texas air quality. The crime is that there's no sense of urgency in dealing with an issue that will have grave affects on health care and quality of life in the state. Pols will scream there's no budget but in the end we'll all spend more in the long term cleaning up the mess.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

My friends call it "Perry-Air"

Fletch
Fletch

Perry wouldn't see any problem with any of this.  To him, it's merely the cost of Texas being such a kick-ass, prosperous model for the rest of the nation.

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