Texas sovereignty over environmental permitting would be restored under a Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenge to the EPA's new regulation overturning the state's 16-year old Clean Air Act permitting process.
Congressman John Carter today filed a resolution of disapproval on the EPA's new rule which seeks to strip the state of Texas of its legal authority under the landmark 1973 Clean Air Act to write and enforce regulations at the state level to meet the requirements of the federal environmental law. Texas is the only state that the EPA has sought to strip of its ability to issue permits under the Clean Air Act.
"This attempted regulatory action by the EPA is precisely the kind of situation for which the CRA was intended as a legislative remedy," says Carter, a former Texas judge. "Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight over the activities of all federal agencies, to ensure that unelected bureaucrats don't abuse their legal authority, as it appears they have in this case. I am urging House leadership to bring this resolution of disapproval up through an expedited process, to ensure the House and Senate can block this abuse within the CRA required 60-legislative day window."
Texashas issued emission permits since 1994 as required under the Clean Air Act through a State Implementation Plan that includes an innovative flexible permit process, or "flex plan". Under the flex plan, Texas has achieved a 46% decrease in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and a 22% drop in ozone emissions, significantly outperforming the national average of 27% NOx and 8% ozone emission decreases over the 2000-2008 reporting period.
"This proposed rule is both legally and environmentally questionable", says Carter. "When the law says Texas should determine the process, and the process determined exceeds the national average in achieving the goals of the law, there is no justification for this action by EPA other than political gamesmanship. This rule must be blocked."