The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has frozen nearly $200,000 slotted for air improvement programs at the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) for publicly posting a study the state's environmental regulator had funded without TCEQ review.
With the city teetering on the precipice of non-attainment with the Clean Air Act -- and the threat of additional mandatory regulations on cars, trucks and ozone producers -- why is the funding being frozen now?
The race is on for this area to stay in compliance with federal guidelines on air quality but local leaders are being pushed up against huge obstacles.
The biggest hurdle may be complying with a lower Environmental Protection Agency standard, currently set at 75 parts per billion. San Antonio is just outside that number, while technically still in attainment of the Clean Air Act.
Yesterday afternoon the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) fired its executive director, Dean Danos, and accepted the resignation of his deputy, Mike Quinn. Quinn resigned on March 25 and asked for nine months' salary as severance; his request was denied.
The Alamo Area Council Of Governments (AACOG) is under intense scrutiny after it came to light that they had refurbished office space for TriHM Foundation on the understanding that they would be given $40 million in grants.
But TriHM never moved into the space. It would later be revealed that TriHM head Jackqueline Cooper had promised millions of dollars in grants all over Texas that were never paid out. Her own employees were never paid, and the Texas attorney general's office has no record of TriHM as a nonprofit.
San Antonio's air quality is weighing on the minds of local leaders who think a plan of action needs to be taken now to reverse the trends of more polluted air.
This is why District 6 San Antonio City Councilman Ray Lopez has already created what's known as a council consideration request (CCR) to begin the process.
Lopez has received the support from four council members, including District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña, District 7 councilman Cris Medina, and District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg, to form a group to create a plan of action.