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Here comes the EPA

The EPA has seized control of the permitting process in Texas for refineries, power plants, and the like.

In a letter sent this week to state regulators, an EPA official wrote that 167 facilities in Texas – many of them power plants and oil refineries – would come under the rules.

As of Jan. 2, those plants will have to seek greenhouse-gas permits if modifications increase their greenhouse-gas emissions by 75,000 tons per year. New facilities that emit more than 100,000 tons annually become subject to the permit rule in July.

Texas has sued to stop EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, and [Governor Rick] Perry has accused the EPA of interfering in Texas’ successful air-permitting program. In June, the EPA rejected a separate Texas permit program that, according to federal officials, let some companies avoid certain federal clean-air requirements.

That action required those businesses to seek revised permits from the EPA.

By assuming control for greenhouse gas permits, the EPA said businesses would avoid the uncertainty that plagued the other clean-air program.

“We are simply now going to supplement the state actions to insure that we have an emission standard that … governs greenhouse gases,” EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy said Thursday. Permits “will be legally defensible. The industries will be able to rely on them and have certainty they are enforceable under federal law.”

If you’re downwind, you can probably smell the smoke now being emitted from Perry’s ears. Hope he’s got a permit for that. Anyway, see the Chron, Greenwire and Hair Balls for more, and my archives for some background. Needless to say, this will be fun to watch.

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