U.S. Rep. John Carter has united Texas House and Senate members in opposition to the latest EPA plan to force new water permit limits on Texas communities.
"We have enough known water quality problems in this nation to address before the EPA starts throttling local communities over unproven allegations based on laboratory speculation" said Carter. The former Texas judge this week rallied fellow Texans in the U.S. House and Senate to protest the EPA scheme to force controversial new permit limits on community wastewater treatment plants.
At issue is the EPA push to force Texas to issue new permit limits on sub-lethal whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing. WET testing examines the effects of water discharges on organisms found in nearby streams and rivers. Even if the water tests clean for pollutants and the organisms survive and reproduce in the discharged water, if they fail to reproduce at the rate EPA observers feel proper, the water treatment plant could face expensive new EPA demands and fines over still-unidentified problems.
The new permit level rules are estimated to cost small Texas communities over $20 million a year in compliance costs, and could result in significant job losses if local industries are required to close in spite of there being no identifiable pollutants in the water they discharge.
Carter this week wrote EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson requesting the demands be withdrawn due to EPA's own researchers being unable to confirm any water quality benefit from the standards.
The bi-partisan letter was co-signed by U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, and fellow House members Silvestre Reyes, Henry Cuellar, Michael Conaway, Louis Gohmert, John Culberson, Lamar Smith, Kenny Marchant, Pete Sessions, Ralph Hall, Sam Johnson, Kevin Brady, Randy Neugebauer, Joe Barton, Ted Poe, Jeb Hensarling, Mike McCaul, Pete Olsen, Kay Granger, Mac Thornberry, Blake Farenthold, Francisco Canseco, and Bill Flores.
Glenn C. Clingenpeel, Chairman of the Utility Management Committee of the Water Environment Association of Texas, says "Texas water utilities are passionate about our role as front-line stewards of the environment and we are also committed to the judicious use of funds entrusted to us by the citizens we serve. We cannot spend their money on regulations that have no clear benefit. Texas water utilities, and by extension the citizens we serve, owe a debt of gratitude to Congressman Carter for calling attention to the issue of sub-lethal WET limits. These regulations have the potential to cost Texans millions of dollars with no guarantee of any benefit to the environment."
"With unemployment over 9% and gas prices, foreclosures, and inflation soaring, the last thing we need is totally unnecessary and ineffective new regulations from Washington that will strangle job growth and drive up the deficit," says Carter, "especially when there is no indentified benefit to our environment."