Gov. Rick Perry today criticized the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement that it will continue to usurp the state's permitting process and decide whether two additional facilities, Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou and Garland Power and Light (Ray Olinger Plant), will be granted permits to operate in Texas.
Last month, the EPA announced it would take over Texas' federally delegated, successful Title V permitting program and replace it with a system modeled on Washington's bureaucratic and less effective program, sending the very clear message that the federal government will tolerate no divergence from its own policies. In response Gov. Perry sent a letter urging President Barack Obama to stop the agency's excessive overreach into Texas' permitting process, which threatens to kill tens of thousands of Texas jobs and derail a program that has effectively cleaned Texas' air.
"Washington's latest attempt to intrude on the state's authority not only undermines Texas' successful clean air programs, but it will cost the state tens of thousands of jobs," Gov. Perry said. "Texas has a common-sense approach to permitting that has dramatically improved air quality while helping create jobs and grow our state economy. Yet the federal government continues to place a target on the backs of hardworking Texans, including these two additional facilities, their employees and the Texans they serve."
These two facilities join the first facility affected by this takeover, Flint Hills Resources refinery in Corpus Christi, in having to sidestep the state's permitting process and apply to EPA for a permit by September 30, 2010, in order to continue operations. This action threatens jobs at Flint Hills Resources and Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou, which employ more than 1,000 Texans combined, and also threatens jobs at Garland Power and Light, which provides electricity to an estimated 68,000 customers and employs 52 Texans at its Ray Olinger Plant.
The air Texans breathe today is significantly cleaner than it was in 2000. As Texas led much of the nation in job, population and economic growth, the Texas clean air program achieved a 22 percent reduction in ozone and a 46 percent decrease in NOx emissions, compared to an 8 percent reduction in national ozone levels and a 27 percent reduction in national NOx levels between 2000 and 2008. Additionally, no county in Texas is in nonattainment for fine particulate matter, one of the pollutants with the greatest impact on human health.
Texas is a national leader in reducing emissions and known pollutants and advancing renewable energy sources, all while remaining a leader in the nation's energy production. We have successfully balanced the need for environmental improvements with fostering economic growth, new investment and job creation. Texas continues to advance new, clean energy technology by using market incentives and stable regulation, not costly mandates and taxes.