SAN ANTONIO (May 1, 2018) – The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors voted in favor of providing commentary to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking it to classify the entire San Antonio – New Braunfels MSA as “in attainment” for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Commentary was submitted prior to the April 30th deadline with the EPA anticipated to provide final designation by July 17, 2018.
“Listing Bexar County and all seven outlying counties of the San Antonio – New Braunfels MSA ‘in attainment’ is the right thing for the EPA to do,” said San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ramiro Cavazos. “This is an economic issue. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Inc. established their Tacoma and Tundra assembly plants here in San Antonio in 2003 was because of San Antonio’s designation as ‘in attainment’ and there are many other companies in the manufacturing industry, a targeted industry for San Antonio’s economic growth, that depend on San Antonio’s listing of ‘in attainment’ for their economic prosperity.”
If only local ozone levels were considered, San Antonio would be in attainment. Locally, only 20 percent of local ozone is contributed by the San Antonio – New Braunfels MSA while 80 percent are from other regions, including 38 percent are from foreign sources outside the United States.
As a community, local and regional players have implemented active clean air and green initiatives to reduce the impact to our regional ozone. Partnerships between private businesses, public entities, and governmental municipalities have provided proven reduction of our local ozone levels despite, the fact that the population of the region continues to grow.
There are various examples of these initiatives that have been completed by Hispanic Chamber members that have led to the Board’s decision including, but not limited to:
- San Antonio local energy provider, CPS Energy, was recognized for the second year in a row as an Environmental Champion by Market Strategies International. CPS Energy have provided residents programs to help control their energy use and reduce their environmental footprint. It has closed their local coal-fired electric plants and increased investment into renewable energy sources along with more efficient and effective grid technology.
- VIA Metropolitan Transit services 1,213 square miles, which is roughly the size of Rhode Island. So far, it has converted half of their fleet from diesel to compressed natural gas buses and by 2020 will convert their entire fleet. VIA also spent $10.9 million to build the largest compressed natural gas fueling station in North America to support the fleet conversion.
“Being listed as ‘nonattainment’ would cause a negative and an undue burden to San Antonio, Bexar County, our surrounding area and the economic potential of the region for years to come costing us an additional $36.8 billion,” added Cavazos. “In assessing the area, the EPA should place more consideration on what local municipalities have done to correct or curve the problem.”