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Posts Tagged ‘TCEQ’

Hempstead landfill clarification

I recently blogged about an update to the Hempstead landfill story, in which Green Group Holdings asked to amend its original filings regarding groundwater levels. I received an email on Monday from a Green Group representative, who sent me the following additional information: On August 12, 2015, the Administrative Law Judges presiding over the hearing […]

Hempstead landfill would indeed hurt the environment

Raise your hand if this surprises you. Pintail Landfill developers backpedaled from arguments that their proposed dump site outside Hempstead would not harm the environment, agreeing for the first time this summer that their review of groundwater under the property was flawed. Environmental testing by opponents in preparation for a November hearing found that groundwater […]

Hempstead landfill update

From the inbox: After several postponements, the Contested Case Hearing on the proposed Pintail Landfill permit has been set for November 2, 2015, in Austin. Assuming no further delays, the case will be heard by two Administrative Law Judges with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The trial is expected to take about two […]

Texas sues the EPA again (and again, and again, and…)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday filed a lawsuit over the agency’s rejection of parts of a Texas clean air program, launching the state’s second battle against EPA regulations in less than two weeks. Texas has sued the agency 21 times since President Obama took office in […]

Abbott signs pollution enhancement bill

Still sucks to be us, Harris County. Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation that could make it tougher for local governments to sue big-time polluters – an effort that largely targets Harris County prosecutors. House Bill 1794, set to become law on Sept. 1, will set a five-year statute of limitations and cap payouts at […]

Local control still under assault

Sucks to be us, Harris County. With Harris County in its crosshairs, the Senate on Wednesday tentatively approved legislation that could make it tougher for Texas Counties to sue big-time polluters. If finally passed, House Bill 1794 would notch another victory for a wide range of business groups in a legislative session that’s been kind […]

Waller County approves landfill lawsuit settlement

Missed this when it first came out. After two fraught years of legal battle, the lawsuit over a proposed Waller County landfill came to a quiet close Friday with a deal that ensures the civil case against the county will not be appealed but that does not prevent the landfill from being built. The county […]

Yes, we can cut back on coal

It won’t be that hard, and it will come with a lot of benefits. Texas burns more coal than any other state in part because of its large and growing population and industrial base. But the carbon-intensive fuel accounted for less than 40 percent of the state’s power use last year. The federal proposal calls […]

ERCOT acknowledges that meeting EPA clean air requirements won’t be that big a deal

From Texas Clean Air Matters: Well, it didn’t take long before the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) released, at the request of Texas’ very political Public Utilities Commission, another report about the impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) rules designed to protect public health. This time ERCOT, which manages 90 percent of Texas’ […]

Landfill opponents win in Hempstead lawsuit

Good news. A jury on Thursday found that Waller County commissioners met illegally in closed sessions among themselves and with developers of a controversial landfill proposal over more than two years before agreeing to host the project. After a three-week jury trial that was the talk of this rural county, the 12-member jury sided with […]

Here come the new ozone standards

I have three things to say about this. Over the objections of Texas officials, the Obama administration on Wednesday proposed a long-delayed rule to slash levels of ozone – a smog-forming pollutant known to worsen asthma, lung disease and heart conditions. The regulation is the latest example of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s use of […]

“Environmental tort reform”

Oh, hell no. After failing in their attempt to limit cities and counties’ ability to take industrial polluters to court, some Houston businesses and statewide lobbyists now want to limit how much local governments can collect in penalties, a sort of environmental tort reform effort aimed squarely at a Harris County Attorney’s office they say […]

News flash: Greg Abbott wants to sue the EPA again

Nobody could have foreseen this! Foretelling a new environmental battle between state and federal regulators, Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday demanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency back down from a proposal to expand the definition of federal waters to include seasonal and rain-dependent waterways. The proposal “is without adequate scientific and economic justification and, […]

From the “Those that disregard history are doomed to repeat it” department

This is the state of environment protection in Texas. Texas’ top environmental regulator suggested Thursday that the state may ignore a proposed directive from the Obama administration in June to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. “I’m concerned that if this is not contested, if we don’t dispute this, if we don’t win, the implications […]

Court rules for the EPA against Texas again

Another win for the environment. A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Obama administration’s new rules that for the first time limit emissions of mercury and other harmful pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a Texas-based challenge […]

The cost of fighting the inevitable

Trib headline: Anti-Regulation Politics May Have Hurt Energy Industry. Oh, the irony. Businesses in energy-related industries in Texas say they have been unable to take full advantage of the natural gas boom that is roaring across the state because of a delay in the issuing of greenhouse gas permits — an instance in which Texas’ […]

EPA and TCEQ settle lawsuits over flex permits

One less court fight for us and the feds. The EPA and Texas on Wednesday said they have reached a deal over state permits for industrial air pollution, ending a four-year fight that to some had become a symbol of regulatory overreach by the federal government. The agreement comes after the federal agency initially rejected […]

That pollution isn’t our fault!

You have to admire the creativity. Harris County’s problem with tiny, lung-damaging particles in the air can be blamed partly on African dust and crop-clearing fires in Mexico, the state’s environmental agency has told federal regulators. If the Environmental Protection Agency agrees with the state’s finding, then the county would avoid stringent pollution controls and […]

Texas loses another lawsuit against the EPA

Getting to be a habit. A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a legal challenge by Texas and Wyoming to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 vote, said the states and various […]

“An accident waiting to happen”

I don’t even know what to say. There were no sprinklers. No firewalls. No water deluge systems. Safety inspections were rare at the fertilizer company in West, Texas, that exploded and killed at least 14 people this week. This is not unusual. Small fertilizer plants nationwide fall under the purview of several government agencies, each […]

Protecting polluters

Ridiculous. It’s never been easy fighting powerful polluters in Texas. A bill approved by a Senate committee today would make it even harder. With a big push from the Texas Chemical Council and the Texas Association of Business, the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted 6-3 today for legislation “streamlining” (read: weakening) the process that communities […]

Still fighting the Waller County landfill

I’ve written before about a battle in Waller County over a proposed landfill that would be built there. While the landfill has moved closer to being approved, it’s not yet a done deal, and its opponents are still fighting against it. “This landfill has done more to divide our county than anything I’ve ever seen. […]

Adventures in water marketing

The headline on this story is about Texans’ increasing interest in recycling water. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? But there’s another way of describing it that maybe isn’t so appealing. Experts say recycled wastewater will play a key role in satisfying the thirst of a rapidly growing population. While reuse now provides 2 percent of […]

Houston loses air pollution permit lawsuit

Bummer. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Houston may not effectively void a state air pollution permit. The justices agreed with Southern Crushed Concrete that Houston’s 2007 law restricting the location of concrete-crushing facilities violates state statute by nullifying a permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In reversing an appeals court […]

Who gets the water?

This will be worth watching. A simple idea has guided appropriations of Texas water for decades: First come, first served. Now, with drought conditions returning to almost the entire state, the principle is being put to the test by a fight over water in the Brazos River. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is withholding […]

Recycling pollution

This is unfortunate. The calls to the city of Houston’s 311 help line came in the early morning and the middle of the night – complaints of red smoke, yellow smoke, explosions, fire, a child having trouble breathing. Reports like these – 189 of them over the last five years – led Houston air authorities […]

EDF report on school buses

From the Environmental Defense Fund: Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) [Monday] released a report titled “Review of Texas’ Clean School Bus Programs: How Far Have We Come and What Is Still Left to Do?” This report evaluates each of the clean school bus programs in Texas, reviews accomplishments, and offers suggestions for improvement. Diesel engines power […]

CSAPR knocked down by federal court

Score one for the polluters. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority with the new regulation. Led by Texas, 14 states and several power companies challenged the legality of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which imposes caps on […]

Count tells EPA to review flex permits

Score one for Texas. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s disapproval of Texas’ Flexible Permits program was not supported by the Clean Air Act. Under the Flexible Permits program, which had been in place since 1994, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality put a cap on allowed […]

More on the landfills of Waller County

Last July I wrote about a proposed landfill in Waller County near Hempstead and the residents who are fighting against it. The Statesman has an update on the story. In many ways, the landfill fight in this rural Texas town two hours east of Austin has a standard shape: An out-of-state corporation is accused of […]

Who gets to use the water?

There’s a lot more demand for an increasingly limited supply. More than miles separate the rice farms of the Texas coast and the Highland Lakes, where the outward march of Austin is marked by each new house, strip mall and marina. They are divided by how to share the water of the Colorado River, pitting […]

Fifth Circuit rules for EPA against Texas

It’s always a pleasure seeing our litigious Attorney General get slapped down by whatever court he’s bothering this week. In the latest turn in a saga pitting environmental regulators in Washington against those in Austin, a panel of federal judges on Friday sided with the federal Environmental Protection Agency in its effort to tamp down […]

Can ban lawsuit moves back to Comal County

From last week: Travis County District Judge Scott Jenkins removed two state agencies from a lawsuit filed against New Braunfels by a coalition of businesses over the law banning disposable containers on the rivers — popular tubing routes. Jenkins dismissed the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas General Land Office from the suit. […]

Can ban lawsuit moves to Travis County

Some new plaintiffs, too. A group of river-related businesses has sued the City of New Braunfels, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Mark Vickery , executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, over a ban on disposable containers on rivers within New Braunfels city limits that went into effect this year. The suit, […]