As I noted in my previous blog, the EPA took control of permitting of major sources from the State of Texas. If one carefully reads the Dallas Morning News article on December 24th’s front page, you’ll note that the fight is over carbon dioxide emissions – which Texas and a variety of other states have sued EPA’s right regulate. But it was only Texas which had the cojones (a great Mex-Tex phrase) to refuse setting up the permitting program. The state’s regulators (TCEQ) don’t agree with the science which the EPA is using (and this is not the first time); so, it’s not just a bunch of oil guys in an uproar. The end result of this will be more paperwork and hoops to jump through, with no real results. This takes me to my next point.
Round 1, which Texas lost, was the fight over the process Texas used to allow quick permitting – which by the way still takes months and thousands of dollars of consulting and air modeling. The end result of that fight will be the EPA making the process more “transparent,” which in my mind means “politically correct,” not necessarily ending up in cleaner air.
Just as an aside comment – one of full disclosure. Much of what I write about in this area is not created from a vacuum. I have the privilege to co-chair a committee which represents the interests of small businesses and local governments to the TCEQ. Consequently, over the years I had the opportunity to meet with many directors and staff members of the TCEQ, as well as their scientists. Thus, I have a good understanding of the dilemma which the agency finds itself in trying to serve the people of Texas in providing a safe environment without hamstringing the ability of business to provide livelihood for the state’s citizens.