Gov. Rick Perry and other top Texas officials on Tuesday announced a legal challenge to the federal government's finding that greenhouse gases are dangerous to people, claiming the ruling was based on flawed science.
The EPA in December issued an "endangerment" finding about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, setting the stage for future rules restricting such emissions.
Texas, which leads the nation in greenhouse gas emissions and is frequently at odds with the EPA, announced it has asked a federal appeals court to review the endangerment finding. The state also asked the EPA to reconsider it. EPA officials in Washington didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
"The EPA's misguided plan paints a big target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers and the hundreds of thousands of Texans they employ," Perry said. "This legal action is being taken to protect the Texas economy and the jobs that go with it, as well as defend Texas' freedom to continue our successful environmental strategies free from federal overreach."
The announcement was met with swift criticism from environmental activists who've long felt Perry's decisions are based on his ties to the heavy industry groups that support him. Texas has more oil refineries, chemical plants and coal-fired power plants than any other state.
"Not only is it legally unsound, it puts Texas on the side of the 1950s economy, against the clean energy economy of the future," said Jim Marston, Texas regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund.
"Global warming is the greatest environmental threat facing Texas and the planet and Gov. Perry's obstructionism puts the state at great risk," said Luke Metzger of Environment Texas.
Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples appeared at the Austin announcement, saying the state has a strong record of improving air quality by cutting emissions without federal intervention.
Associated Press Writer April Castro in Austin contributed to this report.
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