US, Texas regulators propose deal for state's air-permit programme

29 January 2014 22:31  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US and Texas environmental regulators have proposed a deal that would grant conditional approval to the state's flexible air-permit programme, the two sides said on Wednesday.

The permits are issued for chemical plants, refineries and other facilities. The dispute is important because Texas is home to many of the nation's refineries and petrochemical plants.

Under the proposal, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will make changes to guidelines covering monitoring, record keeping and reporting, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In mid-February, the TCEQ will consider proposals that will make the changes, it said.

Meanwhile, the EPA will collect comments about the changes during a 30-day period. The EPA could approve the changes later in the year.

The two sides have been fighting over the state's flexible permits for more than four years.

A US appeals court issued a ruling in favour of the state in 2012.

In a statement, the TCEQ said, "We are pleased that the TCEQ and EPA have been able to reach an agreement for EPA to propose conditional approval of the Texas flexible permit programme, and that the EPA now understands why the programme is legal and effective."

The regulator added, "Although TCEQ and industry representatives successfully challenged EPA’s 2010 disapproval of the programme, today’s action provides a resolution to implement both the court’s opinion and the necessary legal requirements for EPA approval."

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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