This is not the first time I’ve written about Zac Covar but hopefully there will only be one more entry on this blog about him–his firing from his position as deputy executive director for the TCEQ.
If you read any of the documents gifted to Texans by Forrest Wilder and the Texas Observer when they published Agency of Destruction, read Zac Covar’s first. Here’s a little nugget found by my friend Jim Schermbeck of Dowinders at Risk.
In this entry, Covar is referring to a recent Austin Bulldog article about TCEQ.
The article is mostly a re-hash of TCEQ’s greatest hits – Asarco, flex permits, etc. It stays in Austin for all the quotes from very mainstream critics – Sierra Club, EDF, Public Citizen, Environment Texas, and Senator Shapleigh. No Greenpeace, no Downwinders, no OGAP. If Austin/Texas has an environmental establishment, these groups are in it.
After the Communications staff sends out the piece with some snide e-mail headlines about an “allegedly” investigative piece and bad jokes about “recycling” old rumors, Zac is wonderfully eloquent:
“If any of the people interviewed in the story said we were doing a great job, we would be failing at our job.”
That’s right! The secret agenda of the TCEQ according to the deputy director is to make sure Texas industry has a green light to pollute.
Here’s more information about Covar from a previous blog post:
The scariest thing about Zak Covar are the people he has impressed. Zak Covar was appointed the deputy executive director by Mark Vickery, executive director. Covar has rubbed shoulders with quite a few politicos in his former positions including–and this is where it gets really scary–environmental and natural resource adviser to Rick Perry from 2005 to 2007. His degree is in poultry science. Now, I am a huge fan of chickens, but I don’t see how that degree qualifies one for such high level environmental positions.
Covar has clearly impressed his various bosses with the work he’s done. What I wonder about is the implications of someone moving from the political side of the equation to the bureaucratic side. It’s good for the agency to now have a second-in-command who’s on good terms with the governor, assuring the TCEQ some level of money and power from the Capitol. Presumably it’s a useful arrangement for the governor’s office, too, to have a former staffer at a high agency position.
On the flip side, you now have someone near the helm of the state environmental agency — a regulator, no less — who earned his stripes working for politicians who tend to be more sympathetic to economic development than environmental regulation. Meanwhile, keep in mind that the TCEQ has gotten flak recently for staff regulatory decisions that get twisted by the top brass.
Rick Perry touts those who call global warming a hoax! Remember, Covar was his environmental advisor. Here’s Covar speaking for Perry regarding global warming:
…his policy analyst, Zak Covar, summed up the governor’s stance:
“He’s not sitting back waiting to see what other states do; he’s not convinced that it’s an issue,” Covar said.