Texas News


Date ArticleType
7/18/2016 Press Release
Regional Haze Regulations Put On Hold

Regional Haze Regulations Put On Hold

Businesses in Texas would be hurt by regulations

AUSTIN, TX— The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the implementation of the EPA’s proposed “regional haze” regulations.  That is good news for Texas businesses and consumers alike.

The U.S. Chamber and the Texas Association of Business, joined by 23 local Texas chambers of commerce, intervened in support of a lawsuit brought by the State of Texas and several businesses challenging EPA's federal takeover of the "regional haze" air permitting programs of the States of Texas and Oklahoma. The coalition also supported a stay of the multi-billion dollar rule pending the resolution of the legal challenge.

The Clean Air Act's ("CAA") "regional haze" program seeks to limit or prevent "visibility" impairment in areas such as national parks. Although state air quality regulators usually have the primary authority to implement CAA standards, in this instance, the EPA disapproved of Texas’s own proposed regulations to limit regional haze and instead took over Texas’s regulatory authority by imposing a draconian “federal implementation plan” (or “FIP”). This new “FIP” imposes stringent new limitations on certain air emissions.

“Texas is perfectly capable of cleaning up our air using our own rules and programs,” said TAB Vice President of Governmental Affairs Stephen Minick.  “In fact, Texas already has developed a plan that satisfies federal requirements. We don’t need the federal government imposing far more expensive regulations that will cause the cost of energy to skyrocket.”

EPA admits the rule will cost at least $2 billion for companies in Texas to implement in the next few years. As a result, the rule could force some power plants to go offline, and drive up electricity costs for all businesses in Texas. What’s more, the “regional haze rule” will have little to no benefits for Texas: EPA admits that the new regulation’s “visibility” improvements, when compared to the plan already developed by Texas, are imperceptible to the human eye.

“It’s not just businesses that will suffer from skyrocketing energy costs due to this rule,” said Minick.  “We all pay electric bills and no one will be immune to these higher costs.  All Texans would be hurt by this federal action.”

The business groups joining TAB in leading this intervention effort include:

Bay City Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture

Baytown Chamber of Commerce

Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce

Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce

Frisco Chamber of Commerce

Grapevine Chamber of Commerce

Greater Angleton Chamber of Commerce

Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce

Greater Hewitt Chamber of Commerce

Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce

Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

Lubbock Chamber of Commerce

Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce

Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce

Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce

San Angelo Chamber of Commerce

South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce

Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce

Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce

Victoria Chamber of Commerce

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