The American state of Texas has asked a federal court to intervene in its tussles with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over how it regulates emissions from oil refineries and other petrochemicals plants.
A Texas Attorney asked the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to review the EPA's rejection in March of a 1995 state law that allows refineries to be modified without being subject to additional regulation, provided the changes don't increase a facility's overall emissions. In recent weeks, debate has focused on the state's use of so-called flexible permits, which sets a general limit on how much pollutants an entire facility can release. The attorney’s office criticized the EPA for taking more than a decade before deciding to reject the law and said it filed the legal challenge "in an effort to defend the state's legal rights and challenge improper overreach by the federal government."
The federal Clean Air Act requires state-issued permits to set limits on each of the dozens of individual production units inside a plant. The EPA says Texas' permitting system masks pollution, allows industry to emit too many pollutants and makes it impossible to regulate emissions and protect public health.