Focus Point - Clearing the air

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Al Gore says Texas is the most polluted state in the country. The League of Conservation Voters says George W. Bush's tenure has led to worsening air quality that if duplicated nationally would set us back 30 years.

So let me clear the air.

Bush's critics cite a misleading piece of information: that Texas leads the Nation in toxic releases.

Well, Texas did lead the Nation in toxic releases -- not surprisingly, since the state leads the nation in chemical refining and oil producing. But according to the EPA, toxic releases in Texas fell by 14 percent from '95 to '97. And during that period Texas reduced the amount of toxic chemicals released by more than all the other states combined. Finally, "toxic release" is a very broad term: it even covers shipments of chemicals from one company to another, recycling, or shipments to a landfill -- even when required by law.

Now who's blowing smoke?

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.