Bogus Science Peddled by TCEQ



If TCEQ disappeared tomorrow, would anyone know the difference?

Sometimes I wonder.

Here’s the latest: After years of citizen complaints about air pollution linked to the natural gas boom in Ft Worth, the agency finally did some air quality testing. TCEQ officials then told the Ft Worth City Council that the tests showed no harmful levels of pollutants. The council, which has been friendly to the gas companies, was evidently pleased; the mayor hailed the good news.

But, lo and behold, the test results came with a hilarious-if-it-weren’t-so-insulting caveat:

This data is for screening purposes only and may include samples that did not meet the established quality control acceptance criteria. This data was not collected, analyzed, or reviewed using the documented quality assurance/quality control protocols defined in the Laboratory and Mobile Monitoring Quality Manual or those defined by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference 2003.

In other words, the state’s “study” was as good as junk.

“That disclaimer is the most absurd statement I’ve seen in a very long time,” Alisa Rich, environmental scientist at Wolf Eagle Environmental, told the FW Weekly.

TCEQ’s excuse is that using certified labs would have taken too long.

Maybe the next time I do a story on TCEQ, I’ll include a fine-print disclaimer that says: “This story is for screening purposes only and may include facts that did not meet established journalistic standards. The information was not collected, reported or fact-checked by myself or an editor according to long-standing protocol as prescribed by the Society of Professional Journalists.”

Do you think free access to journalism like this is important?
The Texas Observer depends on support from its members to keep telling stories like the one you are reading now. This fall we're looking for 200 more sustaining members—people like you who can give us as little as $0.99 per month. Your membership means we can continue shedding light on issues that might otherwise go unreported. Can we count on you?

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is the editor of the Observer.

You May Also Like: