Air Alliance Houston Holds "State of the Air"

Air Alliance Houston held its 4th annual "State of the Air" conference. EPA region 6 administrator Al Armendariz spoke about the ongoing battle between the EPA and Texas over greenhouse gas regulations at the event. Wendy Siegle reports.
Texas is the only state that has refused to comply with the EPA’s new greenhouse gas rules, which took effect on January 2nd. Dr. Armendariz says the EPA is trying to put forward “common sense strategies” to get companies to reduce their emissions.

“We know that greenhouse levels in the atmosphere are way too high. We know they’re higher than they’ve been for at least a million years. And the scientists are telling us that those greenhouse gas levels at those concentrations are going to cause some very severe environmental problems.”

Companies are now required to get greenhouse gas permits before building new facilities or before modifying existing ones. With Texas refusing to implement the stricter permitting rules, the EPA says it’s taking over.

“The state of Texas decided they don’t want to permit greenhouse gases, so we are.”

This past Wednesday Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot testified against the EPA on Capitol Hill. Abbot said he would drop six lawsuits against the EPA if Congress passed a piece of legislation that would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

“It’s kind of strange that the state of Texas is suing us because we put a federal implantation plan in place. Because if wasn’t for that federal implementation plan, there would be nobody to issue greenhouse gas permits. And if these facilities can’t get permits, they can’t construct.”

Opponents of the greenhouse gas regulations say they violate the Clean Air Act and will cost jobs.