In the latest bout of the state's legal contretemps with the Environmental Protection Agency, Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today that Texas will challenge the federal agency's decision to disapprove its qualified facilities program.
According to the EPA, it allows companies to avoid certain federal air-quality requirements — including public review — when they apply to modify their emissions permits. In March, the agency put the brakes on the program as part of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's State Implementation Plan, which the state agency must submit to the EPA to obtain authority to regulate under the Clean Air Act.
Abbott filed a petition to reconsider in federal court at New Orleans' 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, saying the EPA's decision "not only imposes significant uncertainty on entities that employ thousands of Texans, but it threatens the livelihood of their employees." Along with his counterparts in several other states, the attorney general has already filed a separate legal action against the EPA, which challenges its January greenhouse gas endangerment finding.