Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): GHGs

Abbott Fails In Fight Against Clean Air Protections

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed lawsuits filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott and a group of power companies that could have undermined the Clean Air Act and hurt efforts to reduce climate pollution.

The Clean Air Act requires that large sources of pollution, including greenhouse gases (GHGs), obtain permits when they are constructing or making a major change to their facility.  These permits require facilities to use modern emission control technologies to cost-effectively reduce their pollution.

Some states, including Texas, didn’t have the authority to issue these clean air permits for greenhouse gases under their state laws, so the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the limited actions challenged here to ensure that sources in these states could get the permits they needed to begin construction.  Every state – except Texas – worked with EPA to make sure sources could get the permits they needed (either under state or federal authority).

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has been quoted as saying, “What I really do for fun is I go into the office, [and] I sue the Obama administration,” took the EPA to court over the agency’s efforts to ensure sources in Texas could get the permits they needed to construct.  All of this despite the fact that most facilities in Texas were already working to reduce their emissions and comply with the new federal standards.  On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed that the Clean Air Act unambiguously requires large GHG sources, like coal-fired power plants, to obtain permits.  As a result, the court dismissed Texas’ lawsuit, finding that EPA’s actions didn’t cause Texas any injury.  Much to the contrary, they were necessary to ensure GHG sources could obtain permits that they otherwise could not obtain at all. Read More »

Posted in Air Pollution, Clean Air Act, Climate Change, Coal, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs, Renewable Energy, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , | Read 1 Response

Texas vs. The EPA: Insanity

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has denied the State of Texas’ third attempt to block the implementation of greenhouse gas pollution control measures for the largest sources of pollution. At stake in the current case is a narrow federal action to ensure the largest sources in Texas can obtain construction permits.

Here was my comment in a press statement:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott have now wasted millions of taxpayer dollars losing multiple frivolous lawsuits that only served to protect major polluters from a law that all other 49 state are following.  As the Legislature convenes this week facing an estimated $27 billion dollar budget shortfall, we can only hope that the Governor and Attorney General will decide to fire Exxon’s Yankee lawyers who he has representing his office and let Texas use that money for state services that help people, not on polluting their air.” 

Jim Marston
Texas Regional Director
National Energy Program Director

Posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , , , , , | Read 4 Responses

Texas vs. The EPA: A Paradox

Over the past several weeks, Texas has done everything in its power to block EPA measures intended to ensure protection from greenhouse gas pollution emitted from large sources in Texas.  With the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. expected to make an imminent decision regarding Texas’ latest challenge to EPA’s protective measures, we thought it would be helpful to identify what is at stake:

  • On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court found that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act.   As of January 2, 2011, the Clean Air Act requires that large emitters of greenhouse gas pollution obtain permits applying the best technology available to control their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • EPA gave all states, including Texas, notice that state permitting programs must address significant emissions of greenhouse gases and Texas alone has chosen not to act. Read More »
Posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , , , , , , | Read 3 Responses

No Means No – Even in Texas!

Remember when you were a little kid and you’d ask your mom for something – like to spend the night at a friend’s house? And when she said no, you might ask your dad because you thought that he’d be easier to manipulate, I mean  more agreeable? You knew for sure that when your dad said no, that it really wasn’t a good idea.

Well, this is exactly what has happened in Texas today. The U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit (5th Circuit) denied the State of Texas’ motion to stay the Greenhouse Gas State Implementation Plan Call Rule (GHG SIP Call), concluding–as did the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit)–that Texas did not make the showing necessary to justify a stay. 

This was Texas’ latest (and hopefully last) attempt to forestall the implementation of the EPA’s stationary source GHG rules and to re-litigate issues Texas had already lost before the D.C. Circuit.  (EPA’s motion to dismiss the case or transfer it to the D.C. Circuit is still pending before the panel). 

With a looming deficit projected to be billions of dollars (even more than California’s!), why is Texas throwing away money that we don’t have? How many schools and nursing homes are suffering – operating on shoestrings right now – because of the state’s unwillingness to follow the same laws that every other state in the nation has to follow?

Let’s stop fighting the agency that is trying to protect us from ourselves.

Posted in Air Pollution, TCEQ, Texas Permitting / Also tagged , , , , , | Read 1 Response