TEXAS AIR CONTROL BOARD
TEXAS AIR CONTROL BOARD. The Texas Air Control Board, established in 1965, was composed of nine members, five with specialized experience and four from the general public, appointed by the governor with concurrence of the Senate, for six year overlapping terms. An executive secretary was appointed by the commissioner of health after consultation with the board. The board was charged with safeguarding air resources of the state by controlling or abating air pollution, taking into consideration health and welfare and the effect on existing industries and economic development of the state. It was to establish and control the quality of air resources and provide enforcement by civil action through injunctions and/or fines. Prior to 1973 staff was furnished by the Texas Department of Health. That year administrative functions were transferred to the Texas Air Control Board, which was authorized 366 staff positions. Regional offices were set up in twelve air quality control regions as designated by the Federal Clean Air Act. Three divisions were established: control and prevention, administrative services, and measurements and analysis. Claims were made that prior to 1973 most efforts of the board were to resist the federal Environmental Protection Agency in its attempt to put into action federal laws on pollution. By 1990 five of the board members were from the general public, and the agency had 422 employees, an executive director, and appropriations of $15,909,569. Additional regulatory operations programs were also added. However, there was still criticism, as the state of Texas in 1990 ranked first (worst) in the nation in carbon dioxide emissions, discharging more than the United Kingdom, Poland, Canada, and Italy. The 575 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted made Texas the seventh largest emitter in the world. In July 1992 Governor Ann Richards and Common Cause asked boardmember Mary Anne Wyatt, an appointee of former Governor William Clements, to resign because of possible conflict of interest, as her husband was a lobbyist for firms affected by board decisions. She refused. In 1992 the board had 449 employees and appropriations of $24,021,105, which increased to $27,692,586 for 1993. In 1991 the legislature passed a bill to consolidate several agencies, including the Air Control Board, into a new agency, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, effective September 1, 1993. The board's programs became the air quality program of the new agency.