Texas AG Candidate Sam Houston Promises to Reverse Opinion on Chemical Information
Sam Houston, Democratic Nominee for Texas Attorney General, today promised to reverse the current AG’s letter ruling on the release of the locations of dangerous chemicals, putting the safety of our families and children first.
“I have reviewed the law that General Abbott cited when his office upheld the state health department’s decision to withhold this vital information,” Houston said. “That opinion is wrong. Under the Texas Public Information Act, information is open to the public absent any specific exception. Federal and state statutes specifically make this information available to the public. General Abbott took a nonspecific statute and said it overrode the public right to know statutes. Legally, this is incorrect.
“Texans have the right to know whether their homes, schools or churches are located near facilities with dangerous chemicals,” Houston said. “As soon as I receive a request for an opinion on this issue , I will re-review the issue and, absent any new information, will reverse the decision.”
Houston noted that information on chemicals stored at corporate facilities has been available for decades under state and federal law. He said the suggestion that Texans could just “drive around” and ask these facilities what chemicals they have on site is insulting and leaves thousands of Texans vulnerable to another incident like the one that occurred in West. Additionally, Houston said General Abbott’s “drive around and ask” suggestion contradicts his claim that this information is confidential.
“Texans need to know that their attorney general will aggressively defend the rights of all Texans,” said Houston. “I will re-establish trust in the attorney general’s office.”
Sam Houston will bring the values he learned as a young man to work every day and will protect the legal rights of Texas citizens and businesses. Houston learned his values growing up in the small town of Colorado City in West Texas where he worked in his family’s hardware store. A graduate of the University of Texas and Baylor Law School, Houston began his legal career at Andrews and Kurth in Houston and now works as a partner at Shepherd, Scott, Clawater & Houston, LLP. A successful, practicing attorney for 26 years, Sam lives in Houston with his wife Jantha and their two children.