Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, filed on Friday petitions with the United States Court of Appeals in the Fifth Circuit and the D.C. Circuit asking the courts to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Final Rule regarding air quality standards for sulfur dioxide.
In making the sulfur dioxide air quality designations for Texas, EPA ignored the State of Texas’ recommended designations for these areas—designations that were made based on actual monitoring results. Instead, EPA relied on third-party modeling information, essentially ignoring the State’s statutory role in the air quality designation process established by the federal Clean Air Act.
“This Rule requires expensive and excessive restrictions that will damage not only our economy, but the livelihood of citizens across the state with little to no effect on the environment,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “It is clear that the EPA has disregarded state-specific plans and successful environmental action in favor of continuing to expand their regulatory power over states. My office will continue to defend our state from the EPA’s harmful, overreaching regulations.”
In addition to the substantive flaws in the Rule, there are procedural problems as well. The EPA recently passed a separate, self-serving Rule requiring all challenges to rules the EPA unilaterally classifies as nationwide to be brought in the D.C. Circuit. The sulfur dioxide Rule establishes standards for only a portion of Texas, making it a locally applicable action and not “nationally applicable” as the EPA claimed. Accordingly, Texas seeks to challenge the Rule in the 5th Circuit.
To view a copy of the petition, click here: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/2017.02.13-SOTPFR-5th_(002).pdf