Like many Texas oil and gas attorneys, I am keenly interested in the struggle unfolding between the EPA, Congress and the State of Texas. In a previous blog post, I discussed the EPA's recent efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses across the nation. Today, I'll describe the State of Texas' and the US Congress' responses to the EPA's new greenhouse gas rules.
The EPA's greenhouse gas regulations require the states to implement a federally mandated greenhouse gas permitting system. Under EPA greenhouse gas regulations, new, large power plants that are already required to obtain pollution permits must also obtain a greenhouse gas permit. The permit would require those new power plants to implement the newer technologies available to control carbon dioxide emissions.
Most states agreed to implement the EPA's new greenhouse gas plan. Texas and Wyoming, on the other hand, filed legal challenges to the program.
Texas Governor Rick Perry publicly refused to go along with the EPA. Governor Perry's spokeswoman called the EPA's plans “misguided,” “unnecessary,” and “burdensome,” and said that the the permitting system threatens “hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs” and imposes “increased living costs on Texas families.”
The EPA caught wind of Perry's refusal and took matters into their own hands. Because it was clear that Texas would not implement the new greenhouse gas rules, the EPA decided to take over Texas' greenhouse gas permit program. So, new power plants that are required to get a greenhouse gas permit under the EPA's greenhouse rules would need to get that permit directly from the EPA, rather than the State of Texas.