In the latest effort to combat perceived federal overreach in Texas, a pair of state legislatures recently introduced two new bills seeking to bolster defenses against the Environmental Protection Agency.
During his time as attorney general, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott filed dozens of suits against the EPA for its increased regulation under the Obama Administration.
On Thursday, March 12, two bills were introduced by Republicans that would require the state’s own environmental regulation agency to notify the governor every time the EPA gears up to initiate an enforcement action under the Clean Air Act.
So for example, the bill states that when the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality learns the EPA has proposed a new regulation under the act “that adversely affects the state’s sovereignty or economic development,” the agency will have 10 days to not only notify the governor, but also the lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.
Furthermore, the matching bills, one filed in the House by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (HB 3450) and the other introduced by Sen. Craig Estes (SB 1404), require the state to defend the decisions of the TCEQ.
“It is the intent of the Legislature that any Commission decision under Chapter 386, Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, shall be defended by the State, including against any federal actions,” states HB 3450.
The bills also focus on cost impact, requiring the TCEQ to conduct a regulatory analysis that considers the costs and environmental effects before adopting an environmental rule.
Abbott continues to battle the EPA as governor.
On Monday he issued a letter to the federal agency requesting it nix proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.
“The latest regulations proposed by the EPA are a continuation of the federal government’s agenda that aims to stifle economic growth and job creation,” Abbott said in a statement. “Instead of working against our nation’s job creators, Washington should be looking for ways to partner with them and create economic opportunity for all.”
Governors from Oklahoma, Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Wisconsin, Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina and Arkansas have also signed the letter.