The Perry Legacy: Richard Hyde Responds

Jul 16, 2014 By brian sweany and Paul Burka

In the July issue of the magazine, several writers—myself included—assessed the legacy of Governor Perry. One of the stories reviewed eight critical areas Texas Monthly believes the governor is responsible for, and we gave him a letter grade for each. Some readers thought we were too…

Crane Man

Jul 31, 2012 By Michael Berryhill

Former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Tom Stehn didn’t want to get involved in a lawsuit against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But when a U.S. marshal showed up in his driveway, he realized he had one more chance to help out his beloved, endangered whooping cranes.

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?

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 (, 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.