“Don’t Mess With Texas” is the message Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton proclaim with a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over new ozone standards rule. According to Paxton’s office, “The EPA has lowered the ozone standard placed on states to a level that is inappropriate and unrealistic and is based on flawed science.”
“The changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) would impose a serious financial burden on the Texas economy for dubious public health benefit,” a press released informed.
“The EPA’s new ozone rule is not supported by scientific data,” Attorney General Paxton stated. “Areas of the country that fail to comply with these impossible standards will be subject to costly new regulations that will harm our economy and kill jobs. Texas has proven that we can reduce ambient ozone concentrations without stifling growth, and my office will continue to defend our state from the EPA’s harmful and overreaching regulations.”
The new ozone rule lowers the level of the NAAQS from 75 to 70 parts per billion, “which could be impossible to comply with in some areas of the country due to background ozone levels that are outside of regulatory control.”
An analysis from both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the EPA reveal that the rule could have minimal, if any, health benefits.
Texas has been a leader in clean air without destroying the energy sector. Even as the state’s economy and population has grown steadily for decades, nitrogen oxide and ozone levels are down over the past 15 years and Texans are breathing cleaner air.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office challenged the rule on Dec. 23rd on behalf of the state and TCEQ. Other states, besides Texas, that have filed separate lawsuits against the new rule include Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.
Governor Abbott has been particularly effective in protecting Texas against EPA overreach. As the State’s Attorney General, he was especially victorious against the Obama Administration, when in March 2012, he won a second victory in three months for Texas against the EPA when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s came back with a strong decision against the Department.
It was a major blow to EPA and Obama, when the Court overturned the EPA’s improper disapproval of Texas’ Pollution Control Project (PCP) Standard Permit.
“Showing seemingly no regard for the federal laws that govern what it can and cannot do, the EPA unlawfully disapproved a commonsense Texas air permitting program that fully complied with the federal Clean Air Act and reduced harmful emissions,” said Abbott, who filed a challenge against the EPA on February 9, 2012.
“The EPA disregarded the limited authority it was granted under federal law and incorrectly alleged that Texas would not act sensibly and in accordance with its own laws,” Abbott stated in a release. “This victory marks the second time in the last three months that Texas has successfully obtained relief from the courts after an unlawful overreach by the EPA.”
Since taking office as governor, Abbott signed on to a multi-state letter demanding the EPA to “refrain from issuing new ozone standards that would stifle economic growth and job creation, and submitted comments challenging the EPA’s proposed ‘regional haze’ rule as unlawful and unconstitutional.”