By Sarah Ferris, Washington Bureau : July 26, 2013
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Court of Appeals slapped down Texas' most recent challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday — the latest defeat in Attorney General Greg Abbott's lengthy legal crusade against the federal government.
Abbott had attempted to block the EPA from controlling the state's system for issuing permits to power plants. That process has been under federal oversight since 2010.
The EPA gave itself the authority to intervene in the permit processes of 13 states, including Texas, in 2010 because the agency said states' policies did not consider greenhouse gas emissions.
The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the petitioners — which included Texas, Wyoming and a handful of industry groups — didn't have legal standing to bring the case. Judge Judith Rogers wrote in the majority opinion that the states had failed “to show how they have been injured” by sharing permitting power with the EPA.
A dissenting opinion by Judge Brett Kavanaugh argued that states should be allowed to issue permits on their own as they update their laws to consider greenhouse gases.
The decision comes a year after the same court rejected the state's first challenge related to the greenhouse gases.
In addition, the latest case is one of 28 filed by Abbott against the Obama administration. He has won 10 of those cases, including four against the EPA.
Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, who has fiercely opposed the EPA's rules, said it was “remarkable” that the courts repeatedly have denied the state's appeals.
In response to the latest Circuit Court decision, Shaw issued a statement saying “the EPA has effectively re-written the Clean Air Act to impose its new standards, imposed severely restrictive timelines on the states to implement its new requirements, and then twisted the act to immediately impose its agenda on Texas.”