Twenty-one. That's the number of times the state of Texas has sued the Environmental Protection Agency since President Obama took office in 2009. No one is going to tell us what we can and can't do to our planet, especially not the federal government.
Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the EPA for extending its authority under the Clean Water Act. Ag business interests in the state needs to be able to dump cow feces and urine into Texas' waterways, and Paxton wants to make sure they can continue to do so.
This week, Paxton's targeting the Clean Air Act.
As part of an agreement Texas reached with the EPA in 2010, industrial facilities in the state don't get dinged for emissions made by their plants during startups, shutdowns or malfunctions. This waiver has allowed plants to exceed the amount of dangerous emissions their federal permit allows. A 2014 ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with environmental groups that sued to prevent the waivers, threatening the pollution rights of plants in Texas and 35 other states. Paxton believes that because the environmental groups challenged the waivers after 2010, Texas' agreement with the EPA should remain intact
“The Obama Administration’s EPA made an abrupt and unwarranted about-face, disrupting a longstanding policy which they had already approved to manage emissions,” Paxton said in announcing his suit. “The EPA’s actions make it impossible for even the most carefully regulated facilities to avoid costly penalties due to unplanned events out of their control. We will continue to fight back the EPA’s ongoing efforts to encroach on Texas’ effective management of our air quality standards.”
Should Texas have to draw up new emissions standards, they would be effective in 2015.
After taking on Clean Water and Clean Air, Paxton's sights are now set on Clean Power. In May, Paxton said he would fight the EPA's new power plan whenever it was finished. It's set to be approved sometime later this summer.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.