New Greenhouse Gases Rules Pit Texas Against Feds

The fight continues between Texas and the federal government over air pollution. Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency informed the state that it will take over the permit process for greenhouse gases in Texas. KUHF health science and technology reporter Carrie Feibel has more.

On Jan. 2, the EPA will start regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Just as they do for air pollutants like lead, companies will have to get a permit to release carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming.

But Texas has told the EPA that it won’t issue permits for greenhouse gases. So the EPA will take over that function, at least until Texas changes its mind.

Al Armendariz is the EPA’s regional administrator, based in Dallas.

“Unlike the other 49 states, where the state agencies have agreed to do so, the state agencies in Texas have refused to set up process to do those permits. So EPA decided that rather than having the economic engines of the Texas economy being unable to expand and grow jobs, the federal government is going to step in and play that role and do the greenhouse gas permits.”

Terry Clawson is a spokesman for the TCEQ.

“The TCEQ feels that this is an arrogant act by an overreaching EPA that is trying to implement new unnecessary controls on American industry that will have no positive environmental affect, but it will drive up prices.”

Texas has sued the EPA to stop regulation of greenhouse gases, but that lawsuit is still moving through the courts.

The new permits will apply first to new or expanding facilities, such as coal-fired power plants and oil refineries. Later the EPA will create greenhouse gas permits for existing plants and refineries across the US.

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