Texas Business Report: Protect the Air, Judge Says

A Texas judge has decreed that the atmosphere and air are a "public trust," just like water.
Sat July 14, 2012 3:07 am

The Texas economy is one of the most robust in the world. Wildly profitable companies and ingenious entrepreneurs call this state home, and what happens here influences businesses around the nation. Here’s a slice of the profits, losses, big deals, and backroom decisions happening across  Texas this week.

State Care for Air is Fair and Square, Judge Declares
A Texas judge ruled this week that the state must protect the atmosphere and air for public use, similar to how it regulates pollution of public waterways. The Associated Press reports that the decision “could help attorneys tasked with arguing climate change lawsuits designed to force states to cut emissions.”

The lawsuit, filed by the Texas Environmental Law Center, disputed the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s stance that only water should be considered a public trust. Similar lawsuits have been filed in 11 other states.

The Bottom Line: While the ruling is a victory for environmentalists, the judge also acknowledged that “she cannot compel the TCEQ to write rules to protect the atmosphere and the air” until the state resolves similar legal battles in federal court.

Texan Care of Business
Texas has once again claimed the No. 1 spot on CNBC’s list of America’s Top States for Business in 2012, the third time it has done so in the rankings’ six-year history. CNBC examined 51 metrics within 10 categories, including infrastructure (in which Texas ranks first), technology and innovation (second place), and cost of living (third place). Utah usurped Virginia to finish second in the overall rankings.

The Bottom Line: The state could still stand to improve in some categories: We finished 26th in education, 28th in cost of doing business, and 35th in quality of life.

Aw Hail No!
Texas led the nation in hailstorm-related insurance claims in June, with a single storm in Dallas accounting for 100,000 claims and $1 billion in losses. During the June 13 storm, “vehicles were pummeled while stuck on the Dallas Central Expressway during an evening rush hour,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. Nationwide, insurers paid out at least $1.7 billion for hail damages.

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