2010 Feb. 16: TX: EPA: Texas Gov. wants to continue to pollute

2010 Feb. 16: TX: EPA: Texas Gov. wants to continue to pollute

February 16, 2010

Perry takes on EPA over climate change

Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government over climate change. At issue is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s "endangerment ruling" about greenhouse gases.
 By ruling that greenhouse gases are a threat to human health, the EPA assumed broad powers to regulate the emissions of those gases.
Environmental groups, including Public Citizen and the Environmental Defense Fund, fired back that Perry was ignoring science and setting back the effort to clean up the environmental.
Read below the jump to see the dueling news releases.

Texas Takes Legal Action Against Federal Government Over EPA CO2 Mandates

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced that the state is taking legal action in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endangerment finding for greenhouse gases.

“Texas is aggressively seeking its future in alternative energy through incentives and innovation, not mandates and overreaching regulation,” Gov. Perry said. “The EPA’s misguided plan paints a big target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers and the hundreds of thousands of Texans they employ. This legal action is being taken to protect the Texas economy and the jobs that go with it, as well as defend Texas’ freedom to continue our successful environmental strategies free from federal overreach.”

The state has filed a Petition for Review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and will also file a Petition for Reconsideration with the Environmental Protection Agency, asking the administrator to review her decision. The state’s legal action indicates EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists’ lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws. 

Texas has a record of working proactively to protect natural resources and improve environmental quality. We have reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 46 percent, cut ozone levels by 22 percent and reduced carbon dioxide emissions more than nearly every other state, all without government mandates or extravagant fines. Rather than making traditional energy sources more expensive, Texas leaders continue to support making alternative energy technologies less expensive, thereby encouraging widespread commercial use and removing barriers to innovation and competition.

“With billions of dollars at stake, EPA outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Prominent climate scientists associated with the IPCC were engaged in an ongoing, orchestrated effort to violate freedom of information laws, exclude scientific research, and manipulate temperature data. In light of the parade of controversies and improper conduct that has been uncovered, we know that the IPCC cannot be relied upon for objective, unbiased science – so EPA should not rely upon it to reach a decision that will hurt small businesses, farmers, ranchers, and the larger Texas economy.”

As noted in comments to the EPA filed by Gov. Perry last year, the agency’s decision to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act will impose a tremendous regulatory and financial burden on farmers and ranchers, small businesses, and an energy sector that hundreds of thousands of Texans depend upon for their jobs — not to mention Texas families who face an estimated $1,200 in increased annual living costs during a down economy.

Texas’ agriculture industry, which accounts for $106 billion – or approximately 9.5 percent of Texas’ total gross state product – would be disproportionately damaged by the proposed regulations. Fully 80 percent of the land in Texas is used in some form of agricultural production. Additionally, 97 percent of Texas’ agricultural operations are run by individuals or families, and one out of seven working Texans is employed in some form of agriculture.

“EPA’s move to regulate greenhouse gases would impose devastating rules on those Texans who fuel one of our state’s largest economic sectors – farmers and ranchers,” Commissioner Staples said. “As a regulatory agency, the Texas Department of Agriculture is required to impose rules based on sound science – not political science. Not only does state law require this, but it is also a fundamental principle by which regulators all across the U.S. have always lived. EPA has ignored extensive research on greenhouse gas emissions and based this significant regulation on faulty data.”  

Diversifying the state’s energy portfolio continues to be a priority for Gov. Perry. Texas has installed more wind power than any other state, and all but four countries, and has provided new transmission lines that will move more than 18,000 megawatts across the state. Texas has also attracted more than 9,000 megawatts of energy from the development of next-generation nuclear power plants. The state is also looking to add new clean coal plants that will capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions, or use the carbon dioxide to increase production from Texas oil fields.

To view the legal petitions please visit

http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/Petition_for_Reconsideration_of_Endangerment_Cause.pdf  and

http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/Petition_for_Review.pdf 

 

Lawsuit Represents Step Backward for Texas

(Austin – Feb.16, 2010) Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced the filing of a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health. The following statements are made by Environmental Defense Fund Texas Regional Director Jim Marston:

"The lawsuit filed by Governor Perry is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. vs. Massachusetts. Their action invokes memories of a sad time in Texas history from the ’50s, when Texas politicians sought to nullify decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only is it legally unsound, it puts Texas on the side of the 1950s economy, against the clean energy economy of the future."

Endangerment Determination Background:

EPA Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court: In 2007, the high court rejected as contrary to law the Bush Administration’s “laundry list of reasons not to regulate” greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act, found that EPA could not refuse to regulate greenhouse gases due to policy predilections, and held that the “statutory question is whether sufficient information exists to make an endangerment finding.” EPA’s December 2009 endangerment finding is in direct response to the holding of the nation’s highest court.

A Voluminous Response to Public Comments: Some of the challengers have asserted that EPA’s response to public comments was meager. In fact, EPA’s action was accompanied with 11 volumes responding to public comments through more than 650 pages of detailed analysis.    See www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html

An Extensive Body of Peer Reviewed Science Showing Present and Future Harm: Some of the challengers have claimed that the scientific underpinning for EPA’s action is weak. In fact, EPA’s decision is based on a two hundred page synthesis of major scientific assessments by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Research Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, CNA Corporation, and others. The EPA “Technical Support Document for the Findings” is available here: www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html

A Familiar Line of Attorneys: The nation has previously seen long lines of attorneys form to challenge implementation of basic clean air protections. When EPA established health-based national air quality standards for particulate pollution and ozone in 1997, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and numerous trade associations filed legal challenges including the national association of manufacturers, farm interests, cement makers, auto manufacturers, the pulp and paper mill industry, petroleum refiners, iron and steel firms, home builders, mining interests, and numerous power companies.  In 2001, Justice Scalia wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court in rejecting claims that EPA had acted contrary to law in establishing the controversial clean air standards. Today, millions of Americans have been protected with healthier air and the science is only more compelling in documenting the harm from particulate and ozone pollution. 

Decade of Delay, Rising Pollution, High Costs: Since the original citizen petition in 1999 requested EPA action to address greenhouse gases, vital progress has been delayed by previous government officials who declined to carry out the law and to follow the science.   Since 1999, the nation has discharged about 70 billion tons of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and global carbon dioxide concentrations have risen to 385 parts per million. Delays in making progress translate into costly climate-related impacts and more expensive, difficult solutions to correct for lost time.  

Professing a Preference for New Legislative Solutions? For those who oppose EPA’s action to carry out the law consistent with the science while publicly professing support for new legislation, let’s ask which specific legislation they support and what steps they have taken to help enact protective legislative solutions.

Environmental Defense Fund is a leading national nonprofit organization, representing more than 700,000 members.  Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.  For more information, visit www.edf.org 

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