US greenhouse gas rules can take effect in Texas - court

12 January 2011 23:31  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Federal regulators can resume issuing pre-construction permits for large projects in Texas - the consequence of US greenhouse-gas regulations being imposed on the state, according to an order an appeals court issued on Wednesday.

The order will allow up to 167 construction projects to receive the permits, a list that includes chemical plants and refineries. These projects are large emitters of greenhouse gases, which places them under the regulations.

Those projects could have been held up by greenhouse-gas litigation filed by the state of Texas.

For several months, Texas has fought with federal regulators over greenhouse gas regulations.

The environmental regulator of the federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), had started regulating greenhouse gases as pollutants following the Supreme Court decision Massachusetts versus EPA.

As such, the EPA wanted states to draft their own greenhouse-gas regulations.

The regulations for Texas were inadequate. As a result, the EPA imposed its own federal regulations on the state in December.

Texas objected to the imposition and filed litigation with the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit.

Texas requested that the court put the imposition on hold and review the actions of the EPA.

In its response, the EPA said that Texas needed some type of greenhouse-gas regulations. Otherwise, large projects could not receive pre-construction permits, causing delays. 

By imposing the federal regulations, the EPA was preventing delays to these projects.

Moreover, the imposition of the regulations would be temporary. Once Texas adopted adequate greenhouse-gas regulations, that regime would replace the EPA's system.

After review, the court sided with the EPA.

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By: Al Greenwood
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