AUSTIN (August 13, 2012)—The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act by rejecting a Texas program for approving air permits.
The ruling concerns the EPA's 2010 rejection of the state's flexible permitting program, which forced more than 100 industries, including some of the nation's largest refineries, to work directly with the EPA to get operating papers.
The flexible permit program allows plants to operate under an emissions "umbrella," but does not separately detail pollution from different sources.
EPA regulators argued the rules made it difficult to track polluters.
Neal Carmen of the Sierra Club in Texas said the ruling likely means the EPA will have to better explain its objections to flexible permitting as the case proceeds.
Gov. Rick Perry called the decision “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,” he said.