Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson Urges EPA to Exercie Federal Restraint

June 9, 2010
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency to reconsider plans to take over the permitting process for refineries in the state of Texas.  


Text of the letter can be found here:


The Honorable Lisa Jackson


Environmental Protection Agency

Ariel Rios Building

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20460


Dear Administrator Jackson,

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent decision to bar Texas from issuing an operating permit to a refinery in Corpus Christi is very troubling.  This is a power that 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.  

As you know, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has attempted on several occasions over the past 15 years to work with the EPA to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act.  In fact, there has been a 22% reduction in ozone and 46% decrease in NOX emissions in Texas since 2000.  This occurred all while increasing output.


From 2000-2009, Texas’ annual refinery operable crude oil distillation capacity increased by 11.9%, from 4,246,050 barrels per day in 2000, to 4,747,179 in 2009.  


Furthermore, no county in Texas is in nonattainment for fine particulate matter, one of the pollutants with the greatest impact on human health.


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. 


According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas’ 27 petroleum refineries can process more than 4.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, and account for more than one-fourth of total U.S. refining capacity. 


Refineries in the Houston area, including the nation’s largest refinery in Baytown, make up the largest refining center in the United States. Refined-product pipelines spread out from Houston across the country, allowing Texas petroleum products to reach virtually every major consumption market east of the Rocky Mountains.   


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.


We Americans need Houston’s refining industry to meet our energy demands.  That fact is not going to go away anytime soon.  


Given the energy dependency of our nation and the economic impact of the industry and its products on the nation, Texas must have the flexibility to continue improve air quality and produce the energy that our nation needs.  I urge the EPA to reconsider its threat to remove state authority from the permitting process.




Pete Olson


Media Contact: Melissa Kelly - 202-225-5951