Harris County's attorney's office will intervene in a lawsuit in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's federal air quality standard after Harris County commissioners approved the decision at a March 26 Commissioners Court meeting.

What happened?

In February, the EPA announced the revised national air quality standards that govern exposure to fine particulate matter, which is a form of air pollution.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden's administration March 8 and said in a news release the EPA's new air quality standards are not based on sound science.

"This new rule improperly imposes a huge environmental burden with no scientific basis. I will always use every available avenue to block Biden's extremist climate agenda, especially when federal policy undermines Texas industry and destroys Texas jobs," Paxton said in the March news release.

The Harris County Attorney's Office will intervene in the State of Texas and TCEQ v. EPA and Michael Regan lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Also of note

Precinct 4 officials said in an email that Houston is one of the most polluted cities in America.

The email states that pollution centers are often built within communities of color—putting many Black and Latino residents at a higher risk of developing chronic and deadly diseases such as cancer. The email also listed a concrete batch plant that is located 2 miles from housing units, a park and two elementary schools in Precinct 4.

Environmental organization Air Alliance Houston released a statement in February citing concrete batch plants as a "major source of health-harming particulate matter pollution in many Houston neighborhoods."

Quote of note

Inyang Uwak, Air Alliance Houston's research and policy director, commended Harris County for intervening.

"We must get [fine particulate matter] under control. The actions from the AG and the [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] are an unhealthy delay tactic. With the new standards, Harris County and other counties will be out of attainment, which will trigger a state implementation plan. This plan would theoretically require the facilities that TCEQ regulates to curtail their pollution," Uwak said in an email.