Texas filed a petition in federal court last week to block the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) that will require states to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, most of which come from coal-fired power plants. It’s a case of Texas versus the EPA, round eight and counting.
In a letter sent to President Obama on Sept. 26, Governor Perry said the implementation of the CSAPR will have an "immediate and devastating effect on Texas jobs, our economy and our ability to supply the electricity our citizens, schools and employers need."
Perry and his administration have yet to meet a health safety rule they like. This political banter is said to be pro-business, preventing Texans from losing jobs. Yet this comes from the same administration that cut 49,000 teacher positions and 6,000 state employee jobs earlier this year. Perry claims that the rule will kill jobs in Texas. Why doesn’t he care about the pollution that kills Texas’ children?
Earlier this month, Perry stated that “the Obama Administration continues to put up road blocks for our nation’s job creators by imposing burdensome regulations based on assumptions, not facts, that will result in job losses and increased energy costs with no definite environmental benefit."
No definite environmental benefit? The CSAPR will improve air quality, provide increased protection for sensitive ecosystems, and improve visibility in national and state parks. Nationally, this rule will save up to 34,000 lives, prevent 400,000 asthma attacks, and avoid 1.8 million lost sick days each year. In Texas alone, up to 1,704 lives will be saved each year. The state will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the 27 states to which this rule applies.
Perry went on to say, "yet again, this administration is ignoring Texas’ proven track record of cleaning our air while creating jobs, opting instead for more stifling red tape.”
I hope Governor Perry doesn’t break his arm when patting himself on the back for the air quality in Texas. A new report released by Environment Texas on Sept. 14 cites smog pollution in seven Texas cities among the smoggiest nationwide, putting residents’ health at risk. This report ranks cities in Texas and across the country for the number of days when the air was unhealthy to breathe from 2010-2011.
Perry has stated, ‘I will always err on the side of life.’ His rhetoric certainly conflicts with his actions. The new air pollution rule will not only save the lives of Texans, but also bordering states that feel the effects of pollution from power plants here in the Lone Star State. It’s time that we make air quality a priority in Texas, and stop allowing coal plants to dirty our air and poison our families.