September 1, 2014
On 7 August 2014, the top environmental regulator in Texas said the state may choose not to follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules limiting carbon pollution from power plants.
At a policy event Bryan Shaw, Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) said he is concerned the rules “are only the camel’s nose under the tent,” according to a Texas Tribune report. The rules were proposed in June and have not been finalized.
Shaw and others at the event agreed that Texas should sue the EPA to stop the rules, which seek to reduce power plants’ carbon by 30 percent by 2030. Texas is not participating in a lawsuit brought by 13 states against the rule. If Texas ignores the rules and refuses to write a plan to implement them, the EPA would have to step in and write a plan for the state.
Texas also ignored a 2010 federal rule requiring new industrial plants to obtain greenhouse gas permits. The EPA took over, leading to years-long delays for permits, which caused industrial interests to blame the state for its decision.
The state has not won any of its lawsuits against the EPA rules, though they have cost taxpayers about $350,000, the Tribune said.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation, which hosted the event, is working with state lawmakers to write and pass legislation directing the state to ignore the EPA’s power plant rules.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has mostly refused to answer questions about what she would do if states ignored the rule, saying she is focusing instead on working with states to craft the rule in a favorable way.
On 5 August 2014 the EPA announced the final approval of the 50th greenhouse gas (GHG) permit in Texas. EPA has received 83 GHG permit applications from Texas businesses since 2011 making Texas the national leader for receiving EPA-issued GHG permits. EPA says permits issued for Texas projects total well over $24 billion and have created over 20,000 construction jobs in the state.
What this means to you
Industrial permits in Texas may be subject to longer delays due to TCEQ’s opposition to EPA policies.
MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH to discuss permitting and compliance options in Texas.