State leaders score second victory over EPA this month

Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Senator John Cornyn are all praising a court decision on an EPA rule regarding power plant pollution that crosses into neighboring states. A US Court of Appeals in Washington said the restrictions on cross-state air pollution were too strict on "up-wind" states.

Texas, along with some other states, challenged the law in court. Abbot claimed the restrictions violated federal law and intruded on Texas sovereignty.

"Texas challenged the Obama Administration’s burdensome and unlawful regulations because they jeopardized electric reliability in the state, threatened job losses for hard-working Texans, and exceeded the limits of the EPA’s authority," Abbott said in a press release. "Vindicating the state’s objections to EPA’s aggressive and lawless approach, today’s decision is an important victory for federalism and a rebuke to a federal bureaucracy run amok."

Governor Perry, who you might remember wanted to rebuild the EPA if elected president, used the court’s decision as another example of how and why he disagrees with President Obama’s administration.

"[Tuesday’s] court decision is further proof of an out-of-control and out-of-line EPA," Gov. Perry said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "On the heels of our recent flexible air permitting program victory, today’s ruling further dismantles the misguided agenda of President Obama’s activist, overreaching EPA that has no regard for the impact of its imprudent policies on states’ economies or Americans’ checkbooks. Texas will continue to pursue common sense policies that balance the priorities of protecting the environment and allowing our industries to thrive.”

The rule would have taken effect in January. Earlier this month, a circuit court decision upheld the state’s flexible permitting program. That program had been rejected by the EPA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Perry praises EPA court ruling

Gov. Rick Perry is calling today’s 5th Circuit Court of appeals ruling against the EPA a "big win for jobs and a big win for Texas."

The battle between Texas and the EPA came to a head in 2010, when the Environmental Protection Agency implemented new, tighter federal greenhouse gas regulations. At the same time, the agency rejected Texas’ existing flexible permitting program, which was handled by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The agency claimed the cap set by the TCEQ might still allow companies to exceed stricter federal standards.

In June, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a brief on behalf of nine states. He claimed the EPA was trying to implement regulations that ignore the Clean Air Act, which is a "partnership between the state and the federal government."

Today, in a 2-1 ruling, a three judge panel sided with Texas, stating "It is clear that Congress had a specific vision when enacting the Clean Air Act: The Federal and State governments were to work together, with assigned statutory duties and responsibilities, to achieve better air quality" and that "The EPA’s final rule disapproving Texas’s Flexible Permit Program transgresses the Clean Air Act’s delineated boundaries of this cooperative relationship."

The ruling does still require the state’s permitting process to get EPA approval, however.

Here is Governor Perry’s full statement:

“This decision is a big win for jobs and a big win for Texas. Our state has demonstrated you can cultivate jobs while cleaning the air, and this finding affirms that states have the right to develop permitting processes that balance the priorities of protecting the environment and allowing our industries to thrive. It’s unfortunate we had to go to such extremes to fight back against this troubling trend of overreach and reckless political activism by the Obama Administration that shows no regard for the impact on jobs or our economy.”

And here’s the court’s full opinion: