TCEQ, EPA Air Grievances
Austin could fail air-quality standards; TCEQ could fail EPA standards
The same day, the Sierra Club again called on TCEQ to stop permitting coal-fired power plants because they are the largest industrial source of ozone-smog pollutants. Said spokeswoman Eva Hernandez: "The TCEQ has failed to enforce the Clean Air Act by ignoring pollution from its 17 existing coal plants, by recently permitting nine new coal plants, and by considering four more proposed coal plants in Texas at a time when our state continues to suffer serious air quality problems. This is a travesty to public health and the environment."
Meanwhile, on June 14, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a legal action against the EPA on behalf of TCEQ (in U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans), contesting the EPA's recent move to disapprove the Texas air permitting program. Abbott claims that the EPA was required to act on the Texas rules (adopted in 1995) within one year, so it has no standing to clean up Texas air now. The EPA's position: Texas' lax air-permitting rules violate the federal Clean Air Act and contribute to unsafe air quality in Texas, so the EPA is obligated to make permitting conform to federal standards in order to protect the health of Texans.