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Articles by Erin Douglas, The Texas Tribune

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This piece originally appeared at The Texas Tribune.

In the summer of 2018, dozens of residents in Manchester — a predominantly Latino neighborhood of Houston where nearly half of the residents have limited English proficiency, according to U.S. census surveys — attended a meeting about a refinery’s plan to increase pollution emitted in their neighborhood.

Notices for the meeting, held by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, were printed only in English. There weren’t enough headsets for all the residents who needed to hear a Spanish translation provided by interpreters. Residents left confused or frustrated.

The meeting was one of the main examples cited by environmental groups when they filed a civil rights complaint against the TCEQ, which prompted an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

After years of allegedly discriminating against Spanish speakers with limited English proficiency, the TCEQ presented its plan to stakeholders this month for translating important agency documents and providing interpreters at public meetings — part of an agreement the agency made to avoid potential civil right... Read more