When orders from HQ change… Enviro whacko’s and Texas fights back!

Texas is firing back after the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would apply the 1970s clean air laws to carbon regulation and effectively seize permitting authority from states that don’t comply quickly enough. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA’s national office chooses priorities, but state regulators run the relevant programs and issue the necessary permits. When orders from HQ change, as with carbon over the last year, states get three years to revise their ‘implementation plans.’ But in August, [EPA Administrator Lisa] Jackson decided that the law posed too long a climate wait and decreed that if these plans aren’t updated by an arbitrary January 2011 deadline, her office will override the states and run the carbon permitting process itself.”

Given the EPA’s current lack of permitting resources, the Journal notes that this decision “is tantamount to a ban on major construction or building expansion — not merely Texan refineries but any kind of carbon-heavy utility, industrial production, manufacturing plant or even large office buildings.” Indeed, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality projects that the new regulations will end 167 current projects in 2011 alone. In response to Jackson’s fiat, the Lone Star State has filed a lawsuit with the DC appeals circuit, arguing the EPA went “beyond [its] powers” and is asking for an emergency stay of the new regulations.

The EPA itself admits that its actions “may have adverse consequences for the economy.” Of course, we’ve seen how little “adverse consequences” mean to an administration convinced that when it comes to federal bureaucracy, bigger is always better.


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