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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors
by Jim Guidry
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The  Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors today voted unanimously to request an extension in the time for comments for a proposed expansion of the ozone non-attainment area by the Environmental Protection Agency that would include Matagorda County. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

Currently Harris County and the seven surrounding counties are included in the non-attainment area.

“What is one of the worst things about being in a non-attainment area?” asked Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski.  “What are some of the handcuffs that they put on you, economically or otherwise?”

“From time to time we get contacted by businesses or business consultants working on behalf of a business looking to locate or expand in the area,” explained H-GAC Executive Director Jack Steele.  “One of the first questions frequently is ‘Are these sites that we are looking at in a non-attainment area?’  If the answer is yes, frequently the business will say ‘Well, we are not going to go forward’.”

“As I have worked through many, many things with you all through the years and helped you all with your counties, this is something, frankly, that I need your help on,” said Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald.  “This is something that is not good for Matagorda County.  There is no good in it, frankly, for the region either.”

The board voted to approve a resolution recognizing January as Parks and Natural Areas Month and several awards were presented at a reception following the meeting.
Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

Winners include:

Lake Houston Wilderness Park – Houston Parks and Recreation Department

Clear Lake Forest Park Living Shoreline – Galveston Bay Foundation

Three for Trees – City of Missouri City

Playbook 2020: Parks and Recreation Masterplan – City of Baytown

Honorable Mention presentations were made to:

Mandolin Gardens – Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 230

Edible Arbor Trail – City of Missouri City

Comprehensive Streetscape Policy – City of Sugar Land

Alden Bridge Sports Park – Community Garden/Veggie Village Garden – The Woodlands Township

The H-GAC board also approved a resolution honoring the service of outgoing board member Lake Jackson Council Member Bob Geter.

All other agenda items were approved.  All votes were unanimous.

Liberty County Commissioner Todd Fontenot, Friendswood Council Member Michael Barker, Huntsville Mayor Mac Woodward, La Porte Council Member Chuck Engelken, Jr., League City Council Member Mick Phalen and Texas City Commissioner Dee Ann Haney were absent and not represented by alternates. Waller County Commissioner Frank Pokluda was late, but Stan Kitzmann, his the alternate, was at the table throughout the meeting. Missouri City Council Member Bobby Marshall was absent but he was represented by Council Member Floyd Emery.




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