EPA decision will cost Texas jobs
Agency failed to give state adequate notice
By BRYAN W. SHAW
TEXAS COMMISSION on ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency released the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. This is another rule in an endless line of new federal regulations, all with the stated purpose of improving air quality. Like so many other regulations from the EPA, this rule will cut Texas jobs, cut Texas economic growth, increase Texas energy costs and harm Texas energy security.
Most alarming is the EPA’s conscious curtailment of the due process rights of Texas and its citizens by failing to provide proper notice and thus the opportunity to provide meaningful comments on the rule. The EPA claims Texas was given proper notice, but we maintain that a lone sentence in a 256-page proposed rule can hardly be considered adequate notice. While the TCEQ was proactive and submitted comments on the new rule, those comments cannot be considered meaningful. Why? Because the EPA did not provide Texas with proposed emission budgets, time frames, etc., that were provided to every other state included in the proposed rule. Nor did the EPA contact Texas officials to alert them to Texas’ inclusion in the final rule.
To add insult to injury, Texas power plant emissions did not significantly contribute to downwind particulate matter pollution, based on the modeling in support of the EPA’s proposal. In other words, Texas did not cross the EPA “contribution threshold” and therefore should be excluded from the rule. But in the final rule, the EPA’s revised modeling now links Texas emissions to Madison County, Ill. — quite a distance. And in another questionable decision, the EPA is issuing a supplemental proposal to take comment on the inclusion of six additional states found to significantly contribute to downwind ozone in the same post-proposal modeling. But Texas was not afforded that same opportunity.
The disparate treatment of Texas is troubling and flies in the face of proper notice and comment. The EPA’s late decision to add Texas in the particulate matter portion of the rule and lack of transparency in this decision brings to question the validity of the science used and whether federally mandated sulfur dioxide reductions in Texas are necessary for public health protection.