News Roundup: Air Pollution In Some Texas Cities Is Getting Worse. It’s Getting Better In Others.

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 24, 2019 2:15 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The number of Americans living in cities with unhealthy levels of air pollution is on the rise, according to the 20th annual “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association, released Wednesday.

Janice Nolen is with the ALA. She explains some areas of Texas have made improvements in the last few years.

“Still many cities in Texas are ranked among our most polluted,” Nolen says.

For example, in terms of ozone pollution, which is often called smog, three Texas cities ranked in the top 25 for most polluted – Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and El Paso. But one area did make the cut for one of the cleanest cities in the country when it comes to ozone and short-term particle pollution: McAllen and Edinburg.

“That means they had basically no days when ozone and particle pollution hit unhealthy levels,” Nolen says.

Nolan says the rise in air pollution is a result of climate change.

“With warmer temperatures, with more weather patterns that lead to drought, which leads to wildfires, which creates smoke and fog, so we’ve got a lot of places where climate change is definitely affecting air quality in the nation,” Nolen says.

Some of the health issues associated with air pollution include asthma and increased risk of respiratory infections.

A slew of Democratic presidential candidates are attending a forum in Houston Wednesday. The She the People event is the first presidential forum aimed at women of color – which is a key demographic in the Democratic party.

KUT’s Ashley Lopez reports.

The forum will be held this afternoon at Texas Southern University in Houston. Organizers say it’s the “first-ever women of color… Presidential Forum.” So far, presidential candidates Corey Booker, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are scheduled to speak.

The forum is expected to cover a large range of topics, including “social, racial, economic, and gender justice.” Most of the questions will come from the audience. With moderators adding their own questions during each candidate’s time in front of the audience.

Texans may get the chance to decide whether we reset our clocks by an hour twice a year. State representatives have approved a measure that would let voters decide whether Texas goes with Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time year round, or keep things as they are.

State Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio authored the resolution that could put this question on the ballot in November. He said Tuesday efforts like his have failed in the past because lawmakers couldn’t agree on Daylight Saving or Standard Time.

“We shouldn’t be subject to our own prejudice, our own preference on this. We should allow the voters to make the decision and then live with it,” Larson said.

The measure now heads to the Texas Senate.