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Texas Loses Another Greenhouse Gases Battle with the EPA

Jonathan Warner/Flickr
New coal plants will now have to obtain permits for greenhouse gas emissio under the new federal law but Texas has refused to comply. A federal court ruled the EPA can take over greenhouse gas regulation in Texas.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied Texas a ruling Wednesday that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from taking over the permitting process for the state's larger greenhouse gas emitters, like coal plants and oil refiners.

The ruling lifts a temporary stay that was granted to Texas on December 30, one week after the EPA announced the new greenhouse gas regulations.

On Jan. 2, new federal requirements for greenhouse gases went into effect. States are now required to issue permits for new or expanding coal plants and oil refineries. But Texas has been the only state that has refused to comply.

The EPA issued this statement regarding the ruling:

This ensures that our efforts to enact modest, common-sense steps to address carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act - the same law that has protected America's air quality for the past 40 years -  will proceed in the state of Texas just as they are proceeding across the nation. We look forward to working with Texas officials to ensure that their industrial facilities can seek permits to expand and grow while protecting the health of all Texans.

The Texas Tribune reports that Attorney General Greg Abbott's office maintains it will continue to challenge the EPA on this issue. The Texas Tribune published this statement on their website from the AG's office:

The EPA has overstepped its legal boundaries and exceeded its authority. While the court declined to proactively prohibit the EPA from continuing its federalization effort, today's ruling did not reach the heart of the State's claim and does not affect Texas' ability to continue pursuing its legal challenge against the agency. With the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Texas families and businesses at risk, Texas will continue to challenge the EPA's unlawful overreach.

Friday, the EPA will hold a public hearing on the new greenhouse gases rules at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dallas. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. or until the last speaker has spoken.

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