Obama’s rogue EPA takes aim at Texas jobs
Kathleen Hartnett White is former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Mario Loyola directs the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
They also support clean air legislation. But Barack Obama’s radically out-of-control EPA has gone too far for them. They air their grievances in a guest column in today’s Washington Examiner. They write, in part:
…today’s EPA is far more like an activist for whom no standard is too high, no burden too onerous, no risk too low, and no science too speculative. Despite being a world center of energy production, Texas has dramatically improved air quality. Yet it is disproportionately burdened by EPA’s actions.
Houston, long among the nation’s most polluted cities, attained the nationally applicable ozone standard last year. If the real goal is “ending the era of fossil fuels in our generation,” as President Obama has repeatedly declared, Texas is a good place to start. The Texas model of limited government and economic freedom, which has created more jobs than the rest of the country put together in the last 12 months, is also a threat to Obama’s statist agenda.
Last July, EPA invalidated the 16-year old Texas Flexible Permitting Program. A strategic mechanism for achieving huge emissions reductions, the flexible permits impose tight emission caps for industrial facilities, while leaving plant operators some flexibility to innovate.
Now, purportedly because of concerns about specificity in the language of the permits, EPA has thrown the operating authority of more than 120 of the largest facilities in Texas into legal limbo.
EPA has yet to explain how the state permitting rules should be changed to satisfy these newfound concerns, but it has now imperiously decreed the Texas rules fall short of federal requirements. The affected facilities are in full compliance with state-issued permits, but EPA views them in violation of the Clean Air Act and subject to enforcement.As an alternative to full-blooded EPA enforcement or revocation of their permits, EPA has offered a “voluntary” audit to conclude with an enforcement decree — a coercive fist hidden inside a velvet glove. EPA has apparently invented a new method of rulemaking through the threat of enforcement — entirely outside the constraints of the Administrative Procedures Act…
ATP will pursue legislation in Congress next year stripping out-of-control, unelected bureaucrats of their unquestioned authority to simply make up their own regulations, and restore control of federal agencies to the elected Congress.
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