Tags: Court | EPA | Rule | Texas

Court Lifts Stay That Delayed EPA Rule in Texas

Friday, 14 Jan 2011 09:18 AM

DALLAS — A federal appeals court on Wednesday lifted a brief stay granted to Texas to keep the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from taking over greenhouse gas permitting in Texas.

Texas had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Dec. 30 to block the EPA from taking over the permitting until the court could review the case. The appeals court on the same day temporarily blocked the EPA from taking over the permits as it was set to do on Jan. 2.

But in lifting the stay Wednesday, the court said that "petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review."

Texas is suing to stop the EPA from implementing a plan to regulate greenhouse gases. Texas is the only state that has refused to comply with the rules, which took effect Jan. 2.

The EPA took the unprecedented step last month of announcing it will directly issue permits to Texas industries after the state openly refused to comply with the regulations.

Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement that the state "will continue to challenge the EPA's unlawful overreach."

"The EPA has overstepped its legal boundaries and exceeded its authority," she said. "While the court declined to proactively prohibit the EPA from continuing its federalization effort, today's ruling did not reach the heart of the state's claim and does not affect Texas' ability to continue pursuing its legal challenge against the agency."

On Dec. 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit also declined to issue a stay that would have delayed the EPA's plans as the state's lawsuit against the federal agency moved forward.

While Texas and the EPA have disagreed for years over pollution regulation, that disagreement has intensified recently with Republican Gov. Rick Perry accusing the EPA and the Obama administration of overstepping boundaries and meddling in states' rights.

Steve Cochran, an official with the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement issued after the court's ruling Wednesday: "If Texas put half the effort into carrying out greenhouse gas pollution control measures that it put into fighting them, EPA would not need to be involved."

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