Attorney General Paxton has joined a West Virginia-led comment letter opposing a new Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) rule that would undercut states’ authority and efforts to properly regulate their own environment.  

Under the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), the EPA and states have different roles to play in the regulation of emissions and air pollution. While the EPA serves as the main regulator for new and modified sources of certain pollutants, states regulate existing sources of air pollution by submitting plans for establishing standards of performance within their states.  

However, the new rule drastically shortens the timeline for states to develop and submit their plans. This attempt to rush states could leave them exposed if the EPA decides to disapprove of the plans. The EPA’s disapproval would enable the federal government to seize further regulatory power and impose a burdensome and unnecessary federal plan on states.  

Congress has also established the right of states in specific instances to depart from certain EPA guidelines for existing sources of air pollution. However, the new rule would “clarify” this portion of the CAA by further limiting this state authority.  

The comment letter states: “We urge EPA to reevaluate the Proposed Rule along these lines and to finalize implementation guidelines that provide adequate time for developing state plans, that stay within [CAA] Section 111(d)’s bounds, and that respect—not cabin—the discretion Congress safeguarded for the States in this important context.”  

Attorney General Paxton is also suing the Biden Administration after the EPA disapproved Texas’s state implementation plan, which was designed to ensure that Texas complied with federal air quality standards and the “good neighbor” requirement of the CAA.  

To read the full comment letter, click here.