U.S. Chamber Challenges EPA Action on Texas' Air Authority

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a petition for judicial review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to take away the authority of the state of Texas to issue air quality permits to manufacturers, refiners, and other industrial facilities operating in the state.

“The EPA has pulled the rug out from under Texas businesses by challenging a permitting program that has been in place for 16 years,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the U.S. Chamber’s public policy law firm. “The agency’s decision leaves a wide range of Texas businesses in regulatory limbo and threatens to stunt the state’s economic recovery.”

The Clean Air Act requires all states to develop a permitting plan to meet federal air quality standards. In compliance with the law, 16 years ago Texas launched a flexible permitting program that caps emissions from an entire facility rather than from each individual source. The Texas permitting program provides businesses with much-needed flexibility to reduce emissions by the most cost-effective means. The Chamber’s lawsuit challenges a final rule, issued by EPA last July, disapproving the Texas permitting program and demanding that businesses submit their permit requests directly to the already overburdened federal agency.

“The EPA is trying to fix something that’s not broken,” said Conrad. “The state’s flexible permitting program has served Texas residents and businesses well for the last 16 years. Now the agency wants to change the rules in the middle of the game.”

NCLC is the public policy law firm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that advocates fair treatment of business in the courts and before regulatory agencies.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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