For 15 years, the City of Corpus Christi has received state funding to administer programs to monitor ozone in the Corpus Christi airshed (Nueces and San Patricio counties) and create initiatives to educate and reduce ozone causing emissions. Funds were split between Texas A&M Kingsville that runs the air monitoring program and Texas A&M Corpus Christ that runs the auto check/clean fleet initiative and other educational and preventive programs. Total budget for both programs over the two year biennium was $405,000. Governor Abbott has vetoed all funding that supports both projects, effective September 1.
Due to previous funding reductions, in 2016 Texas A&M Kingsville discontinued monitoring in Odem, Taft, and Aransas Pass. The elimination of funding will shut down the remaining stations in Ingleside and Corpus Christi. This comes at a time when Portland Citizens United has been advocating for increased monitoring. Just this week, the Regional Health Advisory Board adopted a formal Resolution supporting an air monitoring plan for San Patricio County to respond to increased industrial and commercial activity. One initiative that Texas A&M Corpus Christi was involved in was researching the potential impacts of increased use of ethane gas in San Patricio County because ethane is an ozone enhancer and responsible for ozone spikes in Harris County. Increasing transportation activities will also contribute to mobil air toxins that create ozone. The Corpus Christi Air Quality Group held a meeting today to address the elimination of these programs and the impact on our ability to remain within air quality standards. We will keep you posted.