By Anna Herod
Kyle is the only city in the area that is not a member of the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition (CTCAC), and whether that will change may be determined at the March 1 city council meeting.
Several cities, including Austin and San Marcos, are members of the committee. The CTCAC is a voluntary, unincorporated association that became a subcommittee of the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) in 2002.
The coalition aims to facilitate the development, adoption and implementation of clean air plans to maintain regional compliance with federal clean air standards, according to its website.
Daphne Tenorio, Dist. 6 Kyle City Council member, is set to discuss what comes with being a member of the CTCAC and requests that Kyle becomes a part of it.
“To me it’s a no-brainer,” Tenorio said. “I can’t even begin to think of why we haven’t joined it yet.”
Tenorio said there was a presentation about the CTCAC at a past council meeting, but none of the members showed any interest in joining.
Although Tenorio said she can’t understand how the council could be against joining the CTCAC, she felt it was time to bring the possibility up for a vote. The idea came after two council members brought up the possibility of a smoking ordinance at the Feb. 2 council meeting.
“That’s when I knew that this was probably the best time to bring it up for a vote because the no smoking ordinance is about the air that you’re breathing, and so does the CTCAC,” Tenorio said. “They all go hand in hand, so when I saw that they were bringing up the no smoking ordinance I thought it was my opportunity to bring it forward to keep the air clean for all of us.”
Tenorio, however, worries the motion to join the CTCAC will not pass as little interest was shown in the past. Kyle Mayor Todd Webster has voiced his objection to joining the coalition.
Webster said when representatives from the CTCAC gave a presentation, he asked what benefit Kyle would get by joining the coalition. He was told it would give the city good press.
“I’m not interested in dedicating a bunch of staff to go to a bunch of meetings and committing resources for something that’s just for the purpose of getting good press,” Webster said. “That’s not something I think we can afford to do.”
Kyle doesn’t have any point source pollution, only non-point source pollution in the form of vehicles, Webster said. He fears that becoming a member would lead to citizens having to pay extra money when they get their cars inspected to have their carbon emissions tested.
“I’m not anti-environment or anything, I’m just looking at the practical and pragmatic response to this,” Webster said. “Maybe I’d feel differently if we had a bunch of polluting industries here that were spewing out a bunch of chemicals.”
Webster said he believes there is no connection between membership in the CTCAC and “any type of positive environmental impact.”
San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero views membership in the coalition differently. Guerrero said he would welcome Kyle into the CTCAC with open arms. San Marcos has been a member of the subcommittee for more than five years, he said.
“Air quality of San Marcos impacts air quality of other communities as well,” Guerrero said. “What we do in San Marcos and what others do in other communities impacts us all. So it’s important that we are working regionally and collectively to make sure we are compliant (with federal clean air standards).”