Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final action designating Bexar County a nonattainment area for the 2015 national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone.
Although Governor Greg Abbott previously designated Bexar County an attainment area for this standard, the EPA overrode that designation and now threatens to impose an unwarranted financial burden on the Texas economy with minimal, if any, public health benefit.
“The ozone rule will force costly and unnecessary regulations on Bexar County with no clear benefit to the county or state,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Texas has successfully reduced ambient ozone concentrations and nitrogen oxides for the past 18 years. Both the economy and environment in Texas are thriving, and the state will continue to thrive without the EPA’s overreaching regulations.”
EPA’s air quality designations challenged by the state affect eight Texas counties: Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Guadalupe, Comal, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson. Of those counties, only Bexar was designated nonattainment, an action that threatens unnecessary regulatory burdens, federal penalties, lost highway dollars, restriction on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses.
Nitrogen oxides and ozone levels in Texas have both decreased over the past 18 years and Texans are breathing increasingly cleaner air.