Environmental and legal articles
updated in real time.

Jul 13 2017

Industry “Upsets” . . . I Solved this Problem Already

There is a simpler way to handle “upsets” and air quality management

(Houston) – July 13, 2017 – Written by Jed Anderson, Author of the “Clean Air Act Reauthorization of 2017″


Lots of news articles popping up about Environment Texas’s report that only 3% of upset events in Texas face enforcement.


No one likes this problem.   No one likes accidents.  No one likes the ramifications of accidents.


For business, it’s the complexity, expense, and uncertainty in dealing with upsets.  Businesses also don’t know if they will potentially be on-the-line for $0 or $20 million in agency penalties and lawsuits.  Personal criminal responsibility can also loom.  For environmental interests, it’s the pollution—which of course nobody likes.

All this could largely be moot.  Why?  I solved this problem already.


I Re-Wrote the U.S. Clean Air Act . . . Fixing the “Upset” Issue and Greatly Simplifying Air Quality Management

Look below at this re-designed 21st century air quality management system.   Whether the emissions are coming from operations, maintenance, or upsets is essentially meaningless.  Companies pay per pound.  If companies think they might have a bunch of upsets, then they’ll want insurance–or need a lot of money.

What happens when you have a car accident?  Do you leave your car in the intersection?  We have car insurance to deal with the accidental damage that was done.


The environment doesn’t care if the emission is operational, maintenance, or upset for the most part.  It essentially still hurts the same.  So why in some respects treat these emissions in such a disparate, complicated, expensive, legally-exposed, and contentious manner when there is a simpler, better, and more business-friendly/environmental-friendly approach?

Look again carefully below and in my textual re-write of the U.S. Clean Air Act (here is a summary).  In this new real-time market-based system—companies save billions of dollars on all the paperwork and complexity of managing their emissions (since most of the old complicated Clean Air Act paradigms are gone).  They are also given maximum operational flexibility and the ability to expand and change operations essentially whenever they want.  Even if companies are paying upset insurance premiums, they are still saving and making billions more dollars under this simplified system.  And those companies who can best manage their emissions will be saving the most money and paying the least amount in premiums—just like car insurance.  It creates competition, incentive, and a profit motive.  That means my clients, who are some of the best environmental managers in the business, will be valued even more for what they can do.  And my clients, who are some of the best environmental performing companies out there, will have a significant competitive leg-up.  Companies will be doing “cartwheels” under this new simplified system—and rolling in money and operational freedom.

Business wants regulatory simplicity and flexibility.

Business wants fairness and a level playing field.

Business wants predictability in the system.

If we implement this new system (that removes almost all of the old regulatory rigmarole and replaces it with a simplified 21st century real-time market-based system); tell companies how much a pound of emissions costs them regardless of what caused it; and then get out of their way as much as possible . . . the results will be breathtaking (or in this case, breath-giving)—and an economic boon to U.S. industry.

A win-win for the environment and the economy through simplicity and innovation.  Not only is it possible . . . it’s inevitable.





Air Quality management 2


For a summary of the “Clean Air Act Reauthorization of 2017”, click here.

For the draft legislative text of the “Clean Air Act Reauthorization of 2017”, click here.

Call The AL Law Group, PLLC.

Talk to Texas Environmental Lawyers Now!

Call AL Law Group (281) 852-8064

Texas Administrative Code: Title 30: Part 1

Get Texas Environmental News by Email

Texas Environmental News