Gov. Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced that the state is taking legal action in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) endangerment finding for greenhouse gases.
"Texas is aggressively seeking its future in alternative energy through incentives and innovation, not mandates and overreaching regulation," Gov. Perry said. "The EPA's misguided plan paints a big target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers and the hundreds of thousands of Texans they employ. This legal action is being taken to protect the Texas economy and the jobs that go with it, as well as defend Texas' freedom to continue our successful environmental strategies free from federal overreach."
The state has filed a Petition for Review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and will also file a Petition for Reconsideration with the Environmental Protection Agency, asking the administrator to review her decision. The state's legal action indicates EPA's Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists' lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws.
Texas has a record of working proactively to protect natural resources and improve environmental quality. We have reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 46 percent, cut ozone levels by 22 percent and reduced carbon dioxide emissions more than nearly every other state, all without government mandates or extravagant fines. Rather than making traditional energy sources more expensive, Texas leaders continue to support making alternative energy technologies less expensive, thereby encouraging widespread commercial use and removing barriers to innovation and competition.
"With billions of dollars at stake, EPA outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy," Attorney General Abbott said. "Prominent climate scientists associated with the IPCC were engaged in an ongoing, orchestrated effort to violate freedom of information laws, exclude scientific research, and manipulate temperature data. In light of the parade of controversies and improper conduct that has been uncovered, we know that the IPCC cannot be relied upon for objective, unbiased science -- so EPA should not rely upon it to reach a decision that will hurt small businesses, farmers, ranchers, and the larger Texas economy."
As noted in comments to the EPA filed by Gov. Perry last year, the agency's decision to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act will impose a tremendous regulatory and financial burden on farmers and ranchers, small businesses, and an energy sector that hundreds of thousands of Texans depend upon for their jobs -- not to mention Texas families who face an estimated $1,200 in increased annual living costs during a down economy.
Texas' agriculture industry, which accounts for $106 billion -- or approximately 9.5 percent of Texas' total gross state product -- would be disproportionately damaged by the proposed regulations. Fully 80 percent of the land in Texas is used in some form of agricultural production. Additionally, 97 percent of Texas' agricultural operations are run by individuals or families, and one out of seven working Texans is employed in some form of agriculture.
"EPA's move to regulate greenhouse gases would impose devastating rules on those Texans who fuel one of our state's largest economic sectors -- farmers and ranchers," Commissioner Staples said. "As a regulatory agency, the Texas Department of Agriculture is required to impose rules based on sound science -- not political science. Not only does state law require this, but it is also a fundamental principle by which regulators all across the U.S. have always lived. EPA has ignored extensive research on greenhouse gas emissions and based this significant regulation on faulty data."
Diversifying the state's energy portfolio continues to be a priority for Gov. Perry. Texas has installed more wind power than any other state, and all but four countries, and has provided new transmission lines that will move more than 18,000 megawatts across the state. Texas has also attracted more than 9,000 megawatts of energy from the development of next-generation nuclear power plants. The state is also looking to add new clean coal plants that will capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions, or use the carbon dioxide to increase production from Texas oil fields.