EPA Targets Revenge on Texas
To wit, the EPA violated every tenet of administrative procedure to strip Texas of its authority to issue the air permits that are necessary for large power and industrial projects. This is the first time in the history of the Clean Air Act that the EPA has abrogated state control, and the decision will create gale-force headwinds for growth in a state that is the U.S. energy capital.
...This summer, the 13 states requested the full three years for the costly and time-consuming revision process, until the EPA threatened economic retaliation with a de facto construction moratorium. If these states didn't immediately submit new implementation plans to specification, the agency warned, starting in 2011 projects "will be unable to receive a federally approved permit authorizing construction or modification." All states but Texas stood down, even as Texas continued to file lawsuits challenging the carbon power grab.
Two weeks ago, EPA air regulation chief Gina McCarthy sent the Texas environmental department a letter asserting that the agency had "no choice" but to seize control of permitting. She noted "statements in the media" by Texas officials and their "legal challenges to EPA's greenhouse gas rules," but she cited no legal basis.
This and other permitting uncertainties have brought major projects in the U.S. to a standstill. The Texas takeover in particular is pure political revenge and an effort to intimidate other states from joining the Texan lawsuits. The reason states are supposed to run the clean-air process is that local regulators have the staff, capacity and expertise that Washington lacks. When the carbon rules eventually are issued, that means the takeover will extend the current moratorium even longer in Texas.
Once again, Chavez and Castro would be proud.