Texas Targets EPA Smog Rule in Latest Suit

Dec 28, 2015

In another lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Texas is taking aim at tightened standards on ground-level ozone — President Obama’s effort to cut down on smog that chokes the nation’s skies. 

An ozone standard finalized in October shrank the previous 75 parts per billion limits on ozone to 70 parts per billion, putting pressure on some regions in Texas that struggled to meet the previous standards. The ozone rules aim to crack down on pollution coming from factories, power plants and vehicle tailpipes.

Though the new regulation is more lenient than what environmentalists called for, Texas leaders quickly joined with industry in blasting the regulation, arguing that it will cost billions of dollars to invest in cleaner technology that will yield fewer health benefits.

Now, the state has launched a legal attack— its 23rd lawsuit against the EPA since Obama took office in 2009.

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the latest challenge, which he announced Monday, in the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week.

“The EPA’s new ozone rule is not supported by scientific data,” Paxton, a Republican, said Monday in a statement. “Areas of the country that fail to comply with these impossible standards will be subject to costly new regulations that will harm our economy and kill jobs.”

A host of other states have filed separate challenges to the ozone rule. Among the states are Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.