EPA Messes With Texas

The Associated Press says that EPA will prevent the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) from issuing an air emissions permit for the Flint Hills (Koch Industries) Refinery in Corpus Christi.  The permit will be issued directly by EPA and is likely to contain substantive differences from the permit proposed by TCEQ.

Further, by June 30 EPA will invalidate 39 more air emissions permits affecting 140 plants in Texas as a result of a dispute between EPA Region 6 and the TCEQ.

Al Armendariz, [EPA Region 6 Administrator] said the EPA will issue its own permit for the independently owned Flint Hills Corpus Christi East Refinery, and in the coming days begin to do the same for 39 other plants, including facilities owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Dow Chemical Co.

The EPA objected to 40 permits issued by Texas late last year, Armendariz said, partly because they included so-called “flexible permits” that the agency says allow the industry to emit more pollutants than allowed under the federal Clean Air Act. Texas created its flexible permit system in 1994, but it was never officially approved by the EPA.

AP further stated that

at least five years [may be needed] to unravel Texas’ rogue permitting process and learn how much air pollution is being spewed by the nation’s largest refineries.

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