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Perry: EPA action on Tx Permits a Fed power grab

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  • #2661

    basil parmesan
    Participant

    Perry: EPA action on permits a federal power grab
    Texas Gov. Perry: EPA decision to bar Texas from issuing refinery permit a federal power grab

     
    Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press Writer, On Tuesday May 25, 2010, 7:40 pm EDT
    HOUSTON (AP)Texas Gov. Rick Perry says an EPA decision to bar the state from issuing an operating permit to a southeast Texas refinery is part of an Obama administration effort to take power away from states.
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday barred Texas from issuing an operating permit to the independently owned Flint Hills Corpus Christi East Refinery, saying the state’s permit violates the Clean Air Act. Instead, the EPA plans to issue the refinery a more stringent permit that it says complies with the law.
    Perry said in a statement the Clean Air Act gives permitting authority to the state. Perry says President Barack Obama’s administration is making a “concerted effort to transfer power away from the states to the federal government.”
    Associated Press writer Jay Root contributed to this report from Austin, Texas.
    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
    HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday barred Texas from issuing an operating permit to a refinery in Corpus Christi, and said it would do the same in dozens of other cases in which it believes the state is violating the Clean Air Act.
    The federal agency said its decision was unprecedented, because it removes from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality a power traditionally granted to state regulators. It comes after months of unsuccessful talks between the EPA and the state over how Texas issues permits that stipulate how companies should measure pollution from refineries and other petrochemical plants.
    “The time for delay and for partnership and for compromise is very quickly coming to an end and we have to get the Clean Air Act implemented in the state of Texas,” Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional director, told The Associated Press.
    Armendariz said the EPA will issue its own permit for the independently owned Flint Hills Corpus Christi East Refinery, and in the coming days begin to do the same for 39 other plants, including facilities owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Dow Chemical Co.
    The EPA objected to 40 permits issued by Texas late last year, Armendariz said, partly because they included so-called “flexible permits” that the agency says allow the industry to emit more pollutants than allowed under the federal Clean Air Act. Texas created its flexible permit system in 1994, but it was never officially approved by the EPA.
    The agency for years failed to stop Texas from issuing flexible permits, even as it warned the state such permits might violate the law. Recently, Armendariz told the AP the EPA would crack down on the practice; he said Tuesday the agency plans to disapprove the state’s entire flexible permitting program by June 30.
    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality declined to comment on EPA’s decision. Instead, it referred to a letter dated May 24 and signed by the commission’s executive director, Mark Vickery. In the letter, he indicated the agency was frustrated by the dialogue with the EPA. Vickery said his agency “recognizes that certain companies’ business needs … may necessitate issuance of … permits by EPA.”
    The EPA’s action comes as the agency and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are bickering over several issues, including the agency’s finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to human health and another Texas permitting program the EPA believes violates federal law. Perry’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Associated Press writer Jay Root contributed to this report from Austin, Texas.

     

  • #5600

    Anonymous

    This should come as no surprise to any of us.  This is what Obama wants.  More federal control and less for ANYONE else.
     
     

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