Texas AG Sues EPA over Obama’s War on Energy

John Ransom
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Posted: Aug 26, 2011 12:01 AM

In an attempt to push back the government overreach that has been killing jobs in the country since Obama’s red-tape machine arrived in DC, Texas has decided to sue the EPA over rules that threaten to shut down coal fired plants.

Texas, under Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott, has been at the forefront of the 10th Amendment movement seeking to reign in the federal government’s repeated attempts to micromanage, manhandle and mismanage almost every aspect of the citizens’ personal and professional lives.     

“The Texas Attorney General’s office ‘will pursue every available legal remedy’ to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing the new Cross-State Air Pollution rule in the state, office spokeswoman Lauren Bean said,” according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

The new rules are designed as a regulatory end run around the states and Congress in order to implement policies that neither the states nor the Congress will approve. Even with a substantial liberal majority in Congress in 2010, Blue Dog Democrats and red-blooded Republicans managed to beat back attempts to impose similar policies under so-called cap-and-trade legislation.

But Obama rarely cares much for the approval of Congress. Once Congress stopped acting as a ways and means committee for him, the president started pursuing a policy of enacting legislation- or scuttling it- by regulatory action, nuisance lawsuits and prosecutorial discretion.

The EPA has re-written rules regarding emissions under the guise of health risks posed by fossil fuels. Power plants have gone from the regulatory requirement of using the “best available” emissions technology to being required to install the “most advanced” emissions technology.

Consequently many older coal fired plants will likely be shuttered because they won’t be able to afford the most advanced emissions technology. And for those power plants that already meet emissions standards, the EPA is using vague air quality rules to shut down the more advanced coal fired plants.      

Last month the Texas AG’s office announced that it would be suing the EPA over permitting rules rejected by the EPA that will prevent the construction of large industrial plants. The announcement was accompanied by blistering criticism of the EPA by Governor Rick Perry, who has since entered the presidential race.   

"The EPA’s overreach is as potentially devastating as it is unnecessary,” said Governor Rick Perry last month as reported by the Texas Tribune. “Texas has achieved greater improvements in air quality than the nation as a whole since 2000 through our use of incentives and innovation."

The Tribune also reported that Perry said that new standards by the EPA would also "likely result in significantly higher prices for energy and just about everything else, a frightening prospect during a time so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet."

The Texas Railroad Commission, which is responsible for coal mining operations in Texas, urged the attorney general to take action against the EPA.  They say that the EPA is targeting Texas and the implication is that the targeting is political.

“This rule is just another attempt by overzealous Obama appointees to stifle economic growth in Texas,” Commissioner Barry Smitherman said. “The EPA effectively shut Texas out of negotiations on this rule, and demonstrated that they have no interest in scientific evidence or facts. If this ill-considered rule is allowed to stand, it will damage the reliability of our electric grid, and thereby harm the citizens the EPA claims to be protecting.”

Texas has huge reserves of lignite coal, a softer, more moisture-rich coal, which puts out significantly less energy than anthracite or bituminous coal. Still, 40 percent of the coal used in Texas for electricity generation comes from Texas lignite, says the Railroad Commission.

Earlier this week, according to the Star Telegram, the commission sent a letter to the attorney general’s office urging the AG to sue the EPA over the rules.     

In addition to killing jobs in Texas, the new rules make it more likely that power brownouts and blackouts will happen during the hot summer months, according to the letter sent to the AG.     

“Yet again, another EPA rule targets Texas by putting jobs and energy reliability directly in the crosshairs because of radical environmental policies driven by unelected federal bureaucrats,” Railroad Commission Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones said. “As the country's fifth largest coal producing state and the top job creating state, Americans rely on Texas energy and Texas jobs to fuel our economic recovery."

She added: "Don't mess with Texas.”

And now that Perry’s in, git used to hearin’ it.  


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