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“Flex permit” plants agree to follow EPA guidelines

Somehow, the world continued to rotate on its axis afterward.

The unique way Texas regulates air pollution from refineries, chemical plants and other major industries is no more — for now.

The EPA said Tuesday all 136 industrial plants with state-issued permits that do not meet federal Clean Air Act requirements have agreed to apply for new ones.

The announcement comes one year after the federal agency rejected Texas’ use of so-called flexible permits. But the dispute is not over, because state officials and at least 10 industry groups are challenging the EPA’s actions in federal court.

Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas officials have said the EPA was threatening jobs by forcing permit changes at the facilities, including some of the largest refineries in the nation.

Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional administrator for Texas, said the companies are converting their permits without any job losses.

“We’re really happy,” he said. “All the permit holders have agreed to get federally compliant permits, and we’ve done it without any economic disruption.”

The plants are still suing the EPA over claims that they have no legal authority to intervene here, of course, but in the meantime they prefer the certainty of being compliant. Funny how these things work, isn’t it? Hair Balls has more.

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  1. Ross says:

    Of course they will comply. Otherwise, the jack booted thugs shut down the plants, despite the fact that the million extra pages the EPA requires over the state do nothing to improve pollution.

    Anyone who thinks the EPA method of permitting tiny bits and pieces is better, hasn’t looked at the situation. The flex permits are just as effective, assuming enforcement, and allow the companies to manage their businesses more efficiently. The only real constraint here ought to be a slow, continuous reduction in emissions. The details are irrelevant.

  2. Of course, the problem is that we can’t “assume enforcement” from the industry-dominated TCEQ. If we had any kind of meaningful enforcement, the EPA would not have gotten involved. That’s the whole point.

  3. Ross says:

    Then fix TCEQ.