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Who's responsible for monitoring air quality in Texas?

TCEQ in the past has butted heads with the EPA, with the groups fighting over who has the ultimate say so in Texas.

HOUSTON — Officials keep saying the air quality is safe, but a lot of our viewers say they don't trust them. Probably because of that huge black cloud of smoke looming over the entire area. But viewers might have another reason.

Let's connect the dots.

Texas is a little different when it comes to tackling environmental issues. I know that's not exactly breaking news.

The state has its own environmental agency called the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality or TCEQ.

And in the past it has butted heads with the Environmental Protection Agency, with the groups fighting over who has the ultimate say so in Texas. As you can imagine, under the Obama administration the EPA fought to more strictly regulate the oil and gas industry, while TCEQ pushed more business-friendly policy.

That has changed under the current administration, with the EPA looking a lot more like TCEQ.

And now TCEQ is monitoring our air quality in the wake of the ITC fire.

They have some help. ITC has hired its own firm to test the air, CTEH.

It has had some high-profile jobs monitoring public health before after Katrina and the BP oil spill. But that was controversial. In fact, Congressmen demanded BP stop using CTEH, claiming the company had a history of only releasing info that made the company that hired them look good.

A reminder that figuring out environmental impact in Texas is not always easy.

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