The Environmental Protection Agency has decided that Texas is failing to crack down on refineries and other energy producers to the agency’s satisfaction, so the EPA is taking over permitting in the state. As The Houston Chronicle reported on May 25:
“I think the writing will be on the wall — unless we start seeing better permits that address our objections, we are very likely to begin federalizing others,” EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz said in a telephone interview. “The state is not following federal Clean Air Act requirements.”
In The Forth Worth Business Press Alex Mills, president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, reacts to the EPA’s regulatory march in an op-ed, “Texas vs. EPA war becomes an air battle impacting jobs“:
EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz threw more gasoline on the fire when he directed EPA to rescind a permit issued by the State of Texas, because Texas “is not following the Clean Air Act requirements.”
EPA’s unprecedented action impacts the Flint Hills Resources refinery in Corpus Christi, which has been operating under permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) since 1952. Now, the 300,000-barrel-per-day refinery, which has spent more than $2.8 billion since 1981 on “significant environmental upgrades,” must try to get a federal permit for the first time in Texas history to stay in business.
Armendariz indicated that his EPA enforcers also could be requiring federal permits of the remainder of refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities in Texas and the other states in Region 6.
About half of the nation’s refinery capacity is in Region 6. Without refineries, crude oil producers will not have a market for their crude oil. More refined products will need to be imported. Jobs will be lost. Energy prices will soar. The economy of Texas and the nation will be damaged severely.
Armendariz was after the productive sectors of the Texas economy as a professor at SMU before his appointment to the EPA job.
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