Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Op-Ed Deer Park Broadcaster

June 15, 2010

Deer Park Broadcaster
Texas continues fight with EPA


Updated: 06.15.10

There is an important fight occurring between the State of Texas and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It involves federal overreach of our energy supply and economy here in Texas. In 1963, the federal government enacted the Clean Air Act to improve air quality. This law is enforced by the EPA while states monitor air quality emissions and issue permits to entities that emit pollutants to ensure they are in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has attempted to work with the EPA to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act. In fact, there has been a 22 percent reduction in ozone and 46 percent decrease in NOX emissions in Texas since 2000. This reduction occurred all while increasing energy output.

In spite of this, the EPA recently announced it will bar Texas from issuing an operating permit to a refinery in Corpus Christi and has threatened to take over the entire permitting process for the entire state. Permitting power has traditionally been delegated to state regulators, and the EPA’s action ignores the consistent improvement in Texas’ environmental quality, as well as the economic potential impact of its decision on Texas and our nation.

If the EPA moves to take control of a permitting process that the Clean Air Act allows to be delegated to the states, it will kill thousands of Texas jobs and derail a program that has improved texas air quality considerably.

If the federal government is to regulate sensibly, it must use common sense and consider the practical implications of its actions. This latest threat will impact the Texas economy — and the national economy — through increased costs and inflexible regulations. This inflexibility of EPA’s regulatory mandate will cost existing and potential new jobs.

America needs Houston’s refining industry to meet our energy demands. That fact is not going to go away anytime soon. And the Houston economy needs the jobs that go along with this national energy supply.

Texas has taken several steps to work with the EPA to ensure proper air quality and must have the flexibility to continue to improve air quality and produce the energy that America needs. I have asked the EPA to reconsider their proposed federal overreach of the state of Texas. I will keep you updated on this issue going forward.

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson represents Congressional District 22, which includes portions of Pasadena, Deer Park and La Porte