Texas Refuses to Accept EPA GHG Emissions Permitting Rules

by | Nov 1, 2010

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Texas is the only state that won’t revise or accept a federal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions permitting plan, according to a report (PDF) from the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), reports The New York Times. State regulators are required to start issuing Clean Air Act permits next year for large stationary sources of GHG emissions.

In September, the Texas Attorney General asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in separate petitions to block the EPA from rejecting the state’s two permitting programs. The EPA said the Texas program falls short of federal standards for monitoring emissions, and the state’s rules don’t require plants to include all pollution sources when setting limits.

Texas also recently joined 16 other court challenges to EPA’s tailoring rule, which is intended to limit greenhouse gas limits to larger facilities.

The states, with the exception of Texas, are working to align their own rules with EPA’s new regulations, which are set to take effect on Jan. 2, 2011. So far, thirty-six states have already received federal approval to begin issuing GHG permits, reports the New York Times. Of the remaining states, which are required to explain their plans to EPA, Texas is the only holdout, according to the NACAA report.

The report also indicates that seven of those 14 states say their rules will be changed by Jan. 2 or “very shortly thereafter,” and another six states said they are willing to adopt the federal program, but some would like to issue the permits themselves, according to the article.

The EPA has proposed a federal plan to implement a permitting program temporarily in those states that need more time to revise their own plans, reports The Hill. 

The permits will require large facilities to install the best available control technology (BACT) for greenhouse gases, but the EPA hasn’t given the states guidance on those standards, and business groups are concerned that a delay in the federal approval of state permitting programs would hold up their pre-construction permits, reports The New York Times.

Bill Becker, executive director of NACAA, said in the article that he doesn’t anticipate many delays.

The EPA faces more challenges after the November election. Republicans are already planning to attack the Obama Administration’s environmental policies and scientists who link air pollution to climate change, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The GOP is expected to target the administration’s efforts to use the EPA’s authority over air pollution to tighten emissions controls on coal, oil and other carbon fuels that scientists say contribute to global warming, according to the article.

The primary target will be the EPA’s determination last year that carbon dioxide and other emissions endanger public welfare by contributing to climate change, which has resulted in EPA mandates for emissions reductions in vehicles and stationary sources such as power plans and factories, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Senior Republicans told The Los Angeles Times they will portray the EPA as abusing its authority and damaging the economy.

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