Five lawsuits aim to get Texas to enforce air quality laws.

July 26, 2017

On July 20, 2017 Green groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force Texas to toughen its stance on air pollution by using stricter language in permits it issues to oil refineries and power plants according to a Reuters News report.

Five separate lawsuits have asked a federal court in Washington to force EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to respond to petitions by the groups, including the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club. They want the EPA to intervene in permits issued to several companies by Texas’s environmental regulator, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The groups are claiming each permit is too weak and does not force the companies to do enough to protect air quality.

The permits are for Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Baytown Refinery and Baytown Olefins Plant as well as Pasadena Refining System’s Pasadena Refinery, Motiva Enterprises Port Arthur Refinery and Southwestern Electric Power Company’s Welsh Power Plant, according to the court filings.

The groups say Texas has not held the companies to a high-enough standard for air quality, a standard set not just by the federal Clean Air Act but by the state’s own environmental regulations. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) on July 6 published a report claiming the state had only 3 percent of companies it found violating its air pollution regulations between 2011 and 2016.

Spokespeople for the TCEQ and the EPA both said the agencies would not comment on pending litigation. But Andrew Keese, a spokesman for the TCEQ, referred Reuters to a statement the agency released on July 12 in response to the EIP report calling it “misleading.”

“The success of the program is not measured in number of enforcement actions but rather by the state of air quality in Texas,” the statement read.

What this means to you.
Five separate lawsuits from Green groups have asked EPA to force Texas to toughen its stance on air pollution by using stricter language in permits it issues to oil refineries and power plants.

MIRATECH can help.
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