THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Texas Files Legal Action To Block Imposition Of EPA Regulations That Threaten Texas Jobs

AUSTIN The State of Texas today filed four motions to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing new federal regulations that threaten the Texas economy and jeopardize Texas jobs. Specifically, Texas petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to stay the EPA’s greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding, the Light-Duty Vehicle Rule, the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Interpretive Rule, and the Tailoring Rule.

Court documents filed by the State explain that the EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its legally mandated scientific assessment to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which had the objectivity, reliability and propriety of its scientific assessments called into question after a scandal erupted late last year. The State explained that the IPCC and therefore the EPA relied on flawed science to conclude that greenhouse emissions endanger public health and welfare. Because the Administration predicated its Endangerment Finding on the IPCC’s questionable reports, the State is seeking to prevent the EPA’s new Rules and the economic harm that will result from those regulations from being imposed on Texas employers, workers and enforcement agencies.

Texas is also seeking to stay the imposition of the Light-Duty Vehicle Rule, which is predicated on the EPA’s flawed Endangerment Finding. The Light-Duty Vehicle Rule attempts to apply new federal emissions regulations to passenger vehicles such as cars and trucks. Court documents filed by the State explain that the Light-Duty Vehicle Rule is flawed because it purports to regulate pollutants that are not even found in vehicle emissions. Further, although federal law requires that new environmental regulations quantify their purported health and welfare benefits, the EPA failed to include that data when the Light-Duty Vehicle Rule was published. Third, despite a national economic downturn, the EPA also failed to adequately consider the harmful economic impact of the mobile source regulations even though a thorough economic impact analysis is required by the Clean Air Act.

Under the so-called PSD Interpretive Rule which the State is also challenging once a substance is regulated for any purpose, all emissions sources are subject to regulation. Thus, because the Light-Duty Vehicle Rule attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for the first time, that Rule extends those regulations to stationary sources such as factories, refineries, large office buildings with boilers any stationery location that emits greenhouse gases. Although EPA officials plainly knew their regulations would extend to stationery sources, the federal regulator’s Light-Duty Vehicle Rule economic impact analysis failed to consider the economic implications of imposing its greenhouse gas regulations on factories, refineries, and other large employers.

The State is challenging the PSD Interpretive Rule itself because the Rule leads to absurd results. Effective January 2, 2011, the Rule requires that greenhouse gases be automatically regulated pursuant to the Clean Air Act’s statutorily specified emission level requirements. However, the emission levels were written to control toxic pollution not carbon dioxide and other non-toxic substances. As a result the Clean Air Act contains lower emission levels than are practicable for regulating high-volume, non-toxic greenhouse gases. Thus, by the EPA’s own admission, the PSD Interpretive Rule produces an absurd result.

To solve the absurd results problem of its own creation, the EPA promulgated the so-called Tailoring Rule, which purports to limit greenhouse gas permitting and regulation to only the largest emitters. Texas is challenging the Tailoring Rule because the EPA is attempting to ignore the plain language of the Clean Air Act and rewrite the law to advance its regulatory agenda. The Tailoring Rule would require Texas to reinterpret or revise its State Implementation Plan’ which is the State’s federally-approved Clean Air Act enforcement program by Jan. 2, 2011. If the State fails to meet the Administration’s requirement, the EPA will impose its own federal implementation plan upon Texas. Thus, today’s court filings challenge the EPA’s attempts to ignore federal law, impose their federally mandated deadlines and force Texas to spend millions of dollars advancing the Administration’s regulatory agenda.

The State’s petitions for stay ask the court to prevent the EPA from imposing their greenhouse gas regulations until the State’s legal challenge is resolved. By granting the State’s motions to stay, the Court will provide greater regulatory certainty, avoid government waste, and protect Texas jobs.