Thursday, December 09, 2010

EPA threatens to punish firms as Texas argues regulator is abusive

The EPA has threatened dozens of Texas refiners and chemical and plastic makers with penalties if they don't begin taking steps to bring their air pollution permits into compliance with federal law by late December. The blunt threat was made in a recent letter by the Environmental Protection Agency's administrator in Texas, heightening tensions in a standoff that has already reached the courts. Texas has sued to block the EPA from rejecting its so-called flexible permits. On Tuesday, Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a brief in the case, fleshing out his arguments in a July petition that the agency had no legal or technical justification for disapproving the 16-year-old program. The EPA's rejection of the Texas permitting regime in June is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law," Abbott wrote in the brief for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals...more

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