Big Oil Roars Back

Jan 24, 2017 By Loren Steffy

With Rex Tillerson and Rick Perry on his team, Donald Trump is all set to revive the fortunes of the Texas energy sector.

Romney’s Texas Cabinet Members?

Jan 21, 2013 By Jason Cohen

U.S. Senator John Cornyn and outgoing senator Kay Bailey Hutchison were floated as potential members of a Romney administration, and Greg Abbott is a top choice to head the EPA.

The Old Man and the Secret

Jan 20, 2013 By Tom Curtis

Thirty years ago, people couldnt believe it: The old man’s elixir boosted crops, ate up sewage, and made the desert bloom. Today half a dozen Texas companies claim the elixir does all that and a whole lot more.

A Q&A With Nate Blakeslee

Dec 1, 2011 By Jessica Huff

The senior editor on why Texas has taken the lead in fighting new EPA air pollution regulations and what will become the fuel of choice for the next generation of power plants in Texas and around the country.

Up in the Air

Dec 1, 2011 By Nate Blakeslee

No state has defied the federal government’s environmental regulations more fiercely than Texas, and no governor has been more outspoken about the “job-killing” policies of the EPA than Rick Perry. But does that mean we can all breathe easy?

Dewhurst attacks EPA over anti-coal rule

Sep 12, 2011 By Paul Burka

I am amending this post after making some calls and finding out more about the EPA's rule. I guess this is one of those cases where we're paranoid because they really are after us. Dewhurst's statement follows: AUSTIN—Today, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst issued the following statement regarding the detrimental effects of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule: "As feared, the EPA's proposed rule targeting power plants in Texas will kill jobs, jeopardize our state's economic recovery and drive up the cost of electricity for millions of Texans.  As a consequence of this heavy-handed rule, large power plants will be closed, hundreds of jobs will be lost, and Texans may experience more rolling power outages during times of extreme cold or heat. * * * * The likely effect of the EPA's rule is that it will result in the mothballing of four lignite plants capable of producing 4000 megawatts of electricity. The coal industry, while no doubt grateful for Dewhurst's suppot, has not forgotten that Dewhurst has generally favored natural gas over coal.

True to form, Perry blasts EPA

Jul 1, 2010 By Paul Burka

This was the text of the governor’s statement regarding EPA’s decision to reject Texas’s State Implementation Program for the Clean Air Act. “The EPA’s irresponsible and heavy-handed action not only undermines Texas’ successful clean air programs, but threatens thousands of Texas jobs, families, businesses and communities throughout our state. It…

The TCEQ-EPA fight: an industry view, a governor’s view

Jun 27, 2010 By Paul Burka

The first article below is from the Oil Price Information Service (OPISnet.com), an industry newsletter. It is an informational publication, not an advocacy publication. A typical article is, "Flattening Ethylene Forwards Curve Reflects Declining Demand, Rising Supply." The second article appeared in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times under Rick Perry's byline. TEXAS REFINERS BRACE FOR LEGAL BATTLE OVER PLANT PERMITS The dispute between Texas oil refiners and the federal Environmental Protection Agency over operating permits and air pollution has the potential to become a political firestorm, oil interests say, and is most likely headed for legal challenge. Far from a run-of-the-mill bureaucratic snag, the EPA's recent notification to Flint Hills Resources about its application to amend a permit for its Corpus Christi refinery is a game-changing shot across the bow in the battle over climate change, refining and legal sources said. Denied a legislative solution after Congress failed on its first attempt to pass a climate change bill in late 2009, EPA is said to have turned against Texas' permitting process in favor of an approach that could force large reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs). "This is a backdoor way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions," said Patricia Braddock, an environmental lawyer with Fulbright & Jaworski in Austin, Texas. If the EPA successfully invalidates the Texas program, oil refiners (and other large GHG emitters) will have to spend many millions of dollars to install additional pollution controls, add equipment and pay penalties. "If it's determined that refiners have been emitting more (pollution) than what they should have in the past, they'll have to reduce emissions even further (as offsets)," said Braddock, who has had extensive experience with both the EPA and Texas regulators in the area of air pollution. The financial burden will be significant, she added, to both companies and consumers. As previously reported, the EPA maintains that it has undertaken to finalize Texas permit approvals to make sure they are consistent with the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). Meanwhile, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) says it is making a good faith effort to meet EPA's objections to flexible permits "even though our program does meet requirements" of CAA.

The EPA lawsuit

Jun 17, 2010 By Paul Burka

At my request, Attorney General Abbott's office provided me with a copy of the State's "Petition for Review of the final action of the respondent United States Environmental Protection Agency" in determining that Texas's current State Implementation Plan (SIP) is not approvable" [quoting from the Federal Register]. This is a huge deal. The future of the state's petrochemical and refining industries are riding on the outcome, involving thousands of jobs and significant economic activity in exported products, as well as the prospects for cleaner air. The case is filed in the Firth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The state's petition sets out no claim against the EPA. It does not assert that Texas is meeting the standards of the federal Clean Air Act. It does not accuse the EPA of misapplying the law. I presume that these and other grievances will be aired later before the Court. Along with the petition, which is seven lines of type in its entirety, the AG's office provided me with the EPA's final rule in the case, which contains a mother lode of information. Most interesting are the comments from organizations in Texas that support or oppose the EPA's action. There is, for example, this response from TxOGA (Texas Oil and Gas Association):

TXOGA eyes suit against EPA

Jun 10, 2010 By Paul Burka

The Texas Oil and Gas Association action could be filed as soon as tomorrow. The feds are flexing their muscles and threatening to take over all permitting in the state. They don’t like Texas’s system of “flex permitting,” which TCEQ and its predecessor agencies have used going back to Ann…

Bugging Out

Jan 1, 1996 By Joe Nick Patoski

Farmers in the Rio Grande Valley are reeling from last year’s crop disaster—and they don’t cotton to agriculture commissioner Rick Perry’s excuses.