There’s politics, and then there’s politics, and if I were a lefty blogger I’d be questioning the timing of what the Obama EPA is up to here in Texas. Last week, Obama’s EPA fired off a nasty barrage straight at the Texas economy.
Igniting an angry backlash from Gov. Rick Perry and other state officials, the EPA on Wednesday upended the state’s 16-year-old air permitting program in a ruling affecting more than 100 industrial sites, including two in North Texas.
In a much anticipated decision, the Environmental Protection Agency‘s Dallas regional office announced that it has rejected a clean-air implementation plan by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, ruling that the state’s flexible permitting system violates portions of the U.S. Clean Air Act and effectively relaxes federally mandated emissions requirements.
Up to 125 plants holding flexible permits will now be required to shift to more rigid federal requirements, including Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth and the Holcim cement plant in Midlothian, EPA officials said. Other affected facilities include those owned by BP and Exxon Mobil, as well as petrochemical plants along the Gulf Coast and the Lower Colorado River Authority’s coal-fired power plant near Austin.
This decision puts a whole lot of Texas jobs at risk. And it’s unnecessary: Texas’ system has made the state’s air cleaner faster over the past 16 years than most other states. And, Texas’ system has up to now enjoyed bipartisan support. Heck, it was put in place during the last Democrat governor’s rule, fercryinoutloud.
But that’s not good enough for the Obama thugs, apparently. And, it’s not good enough for Bill White, the Democrat who wants to be governor. Tucked into a Houston Chronicle editorial last fall is this little gem. This occurred while White was still the overspending liberal mayor of Houston.
Mayor White has also been critical of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as being too lax in enforcing state laws against polluters. “Procedures today are tilted toward those putting cancer-causing chemicals in the air in large quantities and against those representing the public interest,” said the mayor. He cited the TCEQ rules requiring objections to emission permits to be filed within weeks, “even if the polluter took months to prepare the application, and then the polluter can continue putting chemicals into the air under the old permit …. That’s just not right.” According to the mayor, the city protested a benzene permit for an area refinery but TCEQ has not acted for six months while the facility continues to pump tons of the chemical into the air.
After meeting with White, EPA officials announced that many of the TCEQ rules are in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA is currently gathering comment on TCEQ permitting practices and will decide which to change or abolish next year.
There’s a lot of noise from Bill White in that. Please allow me to condense it a bit.
Mayor White has also been critical of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as being too lax in enforcing state laws against polluters….After meeting with White, EPA officials announced that many of the TCEQ rules are in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA is currently gathering comment on TCEQ permitting practices and will decide which to change or abolish next year.
Well, “next year” is now, White’s running for governor, and Obama’s EPA is assaulting Texas. This all just happens to be going on right after the Dems have finished their state convention, so political season is well and truly underway and shock of all shocks, there’s a new thing out there to put the incumbent Republican governor on the defensive.
If this were any other administration it would be easy to dismiss all this as bad appearances and nothing more. But this administration sold a health care bill on a pile of lies, and this administration is already playing politics with the unsecured borders, and this administration has been threatening idiocies like taking Arizona to court for passing a law that’s almost identical to a federal law that’s been on the books for 70 years or more. This is the Chicago administration that tried to trade a job for Joe Sestak for a Senate seat. This is the administration that never lets a good crisis go to waste. Especially when it can provoke the crisis to help fellow Democrats. Or to at least try to help fellow Democrats.
If White and Obama are conspiring to use the EPA to attack Perry, well, there’s an awful lot of collateral economic damage to consider. This attack doesn’t just hit the governor, it threatens thousands of jobs all over Texas, with potential ripples well beyond the Lone Star State.
Update: Check out this animation of how air quality has improved over the past 20 years.