Court Faults EP…

Court Faults EPA’s Rejection of Flexible Permits Program

 
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s disapproval of Texas’ Flexible Permits program was not supported by the Clean Air Act.
Under the Flexible Permits program, which had been in place since 1994, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality put a cap on allowed emissions from oil refineries and other industrial plants by facility. EPA officials announced in 2010 that they disapproved of the program because it might allow major polluters to exceed federal standards, record-keeping was inadequate and the methodology for calculating the emissions cap was unclear. As a result, those flexible permits were no longer accepted under the Clean Air Act. The facilities that already possessed flexible permits were subject to federal fines.
In the opinion, the court called the EPA’s disapproval of Texas’ program “untimely” and said it “unraveled approximately 140 permits” issued under the program. The court said the EPA’s reasoning was mainly based on wording, and not actual standards or procedures.
“A state’s ‘broad responsibility regarding the means’ to achieve better air quality would be hollow indeed if the state were not even responsible for its own sentence structure,” the court says in the opinion.

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/texas-environmental-news/environmental-problems-and-policies/court-permits-were-disapproved-inadequate-reasons/?utm_source=texastribune.org&utm_medium=alerts&utm_campaign=News%20Alert:%20Subscriptions

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