EPA In Dallas Hears Citizens Say Hell Yes, Mess With Texas

  • Published on January 15th, 2011

texas_air“EPA, you come on in and mess with Texas. We need your help,” said Allison Silva with the No Coal Coalition in Dallas Friday.

And Dallas County Treasurer Joe Well told the EPA, “The federal government has to do it because the state government has failed.”

“It” is the Environmental Protection Agencies policy of working with large-scale polluters – like new power plants and cement kilns – to cut back on carbon dioxide output. The goal is to improve air quality and prevent climate change at a reasonable cost. But Texas State officials called the move a job-killer and a power-grab, and refused to work with the EPA.

They now say the EPA is usurping state’s rights by going ahead and issuing permits without the state’s involvement. The EPA reasonably points out that the plants can’t be approved without the permits, so if Texas refuses to participate, more than 150 major construction projects will be left in limbo for months of needless bickering.

All 49 other states are on board; although some other states are suing, Texas is the only holdout that has refused to comply.

Friday’s hearing in Dallas was aimed at getting input from the public and Texas officials. The Dallas News reported, “Nearly every speaker at the hearing, however, expressed little or no confidence in Texas officials’ ability or desire to protect the environment.”

“Governor Perry is putting the health of Texans at risk,” said Flavia de la Fuente, a student from Austin.

Rita Beving of Farmers Branch, a member of the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ clean-air steering committee, said Texas was wasting time and money fighting climate-change action in court.

“The regulation of CO{-2} is long overdue and, frankly, the debate is over on whether it is necessary,” she said.

Business was there as well, saying they just want to see action so they can move forward, pointing out that it’s the Republicans here who are creating uncertainty.

Jeff Holmstead, the EPA’s air chief under President George W. Bush and now an industry lobbyist with Bracewell & Giuliani in Washington, D.C., said that power plants, refiners and others understand that they must work through the federal agency to ensure that their permits are in compliance.

“Individual companies want to build things,” he said. “If the only way to build things is to work with (the EPA), they will do that.”

Texas officials didn’t bother to show up. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality instead issued a taunting statement:

“Our attempts to reason with EPA and efforts to have constructive discussions on our position and their authority under federal law have been ignored.

“We look forward to pursuing our position in the court system, and we are confident that science and the law will prevail.”

Ironic, since in multiple cases the courts have already ruled that Texas is wrong on both science and law, from the Supreme Court on down. They lost yet another case this week; but the Texas attorney general has already filed yet another suit, so this won’t be resolved any time soon.

More background:

(Texas air quality picture Attribution Some rights reserved by billjacobus1)

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.

1 comment

  • When you havebeen Ruled against on several occasions,and still insist on going to court. One has to believe it’s more about protecting your own little kingdom of influence as opposed to doing what’s best for the citizens.

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