The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it was taking over the issuance of operating permits for two more Texas facilities — Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou and Garland Power and Light — further escalating the federal-state fight over air quality regulations.
“The state has refused up to this point to issue good permits, and we have a legal responsibility … to ensure the Clean Air Act is implemented,” EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz said by phone Tuesday.
If the TCEQ had been doing its job instead of carrying water for polluters, this would not now be happening. If Governor Perry cared a tenth as much for the interests of the people as he does for his corporate benefactors, none of this would now be happening. They may get some relief from the activist federal judiciary, but they have no one to blame but themselves for their predicament.
On a related note, the TCEQ will be making some changes to its permitting process to demonstrate that they are in compliance with the EPA and the Clean Air Act. Assuming this is more than just window dressing, it’s unlikely to have any immediate effect.
EPA officials knew Texas was crafting proposed rule changes, but the agency’s regional administrator, Al Armendariz, said in an interview his focus wasn’t on the proposal.
“Our action is going to be based on those rules that the state of Texas has already been implementing for a number of years,” Armendariz said on Tuesday. “It’s not a high priority for me to engage with the state in a process to create a new version of that program.
“New programs under the Clean Air Act sometimes take years to evaluate and to approve,” he added. “My high priority right now is simply to get the permits that are flawed in Texas corrected.”
I’d say he has their attention. We’ll see about the rest of it.