Texas AG Aims To Shirk Responsibility for State’s Pollution that Travels Across Borders

EPA has rejected TX cross-state ozone plan that requires zero air pollution reductions

Austin, TX – On Feb. 14, the Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for rejecting the state government’s plan to reduce smog pollution that crosses into other states. When EPA rejects such a plan – and it recently rejected portions of 20 additional state plans – it has determined that the plan would not adequately curtail cross-state ozone pollution. A federal plan is needed to bring the state into compliance with the Clean Air Act. 

EPA is expected to issue this final federal plan, known as the Good Neighbor Plan for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, in March. It has received broad support across the country

In response to the lawsuit, Emma Pabst, a campaign representative for the Beyond Coal Campaign in Texas, issued the following statement:

Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against the EPA is another example of what we already knew: Texas wants to keep dumping its trash in other states’ backyards. The state government loves to claim it is self-sufficient until it comes time to take responsibility for the immense air pollution its industries contribute across state lines – in states that have far fewer pollution sources yet suffer from bad air quality. The residents of these states do not deserve to breathe smoggy air from Texas, which can cause serious heart and lung diseases and even early death. Not to mention that Texans are the first in line to this pollution before it travels elsewhere.

Congress saw a need to prevent this environmental injustice when it passed the Clean Air Act requiring states to avoid sending their air pollution across state lines. The Texas plan, put together by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality – an agency that has lost the trust of Texans across the state – was extremely inadequate. It failed to require any air pollution reductions at all. EPA has clear authority to step in and bring the state into compliance with the law. 

Texas has the third-most coal plants of any state in the nation, and many of these don’t have modern pollution controls. If state leaders want so badly to cling to old, expensive, dirty fuels then they must be willing to reduce the air pollution the plants cause in other states. Texas wants to have its cake and eat it too, but, unfortunately for Ken Paxton, the buck stops with EPA.


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