NEW ORLEANS (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to reject a regulatory program the state put in place after submitting it for approval 14 years ago.
Abbott filed his challenge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Monday. It says the EPA was wrong to disapprove the state's qualified facilities program, which allows factories to bypass certain parts of the regulatory process if changes they are proposing do not result in an increase in emissions.
In March, the EPA rejected the program, which was created in 1995 by the Texas Legislature.
"By rejecting Texas' qualified facilities program, the EPA has unilaterally declared that program is not in compliance with federal law," a release from Abbott's office says.
"The EPA's decision not only imposes significant uncertainty on entities that employ thousands of Texans, but it threatens the livelihood of their employees - who depend upon those facilities for their jobs."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry also had harsh words for President Barack Obama's EPA earlier this month after it announced changes for the state's permitting process.
Perry said the EPA has "sent the very clear message that it seeks to destroy Texas's successful clean air program and threaten tens of thousands of good Texas jobs in the process. The EPA seems to believe that federal controls and bureaucracy are more important than clean air results."
Abbott said part of the Clean Air Act says air pollution prevention is "the primary responsibility of the states and local governments."
He says the regulatory program Texas has in place has successfully reduced harmful emissions in the state.
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.