Congressman Joe Barton’s (R-Ennis, TX) office says he might introduce Texas-specific legislation to limit the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency, but for now he’s signing on as a co-sponsor to a measure filed yesterday aimed at stopping the federal regulation of greenhouse gases.
Barton is putting together a coalition of government officials at all levels along with business and industry groups to present a united front against EPA policies that he and other Texas Republicans say are strangling the state’s economy.
If Barton does file a Texas-specific measure, it would likely seek to rollback the EPA’s decision last year to halt the state’s flexible permitting program, which Texasrefineries have been relying on for some 15 years to get around federal pollution laws.
The legislation Barton has signed on to is sponsored by Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe, would effectively undo EPA’s decision to regulate greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the agency has the authority to issue such a regulation.
Texas Republican John Cornyn is a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. Several Democratic congressmen from industrial states are also co-sponsoring the bills, even though many expect President Obama to veto any legislation that might reach his desk.
Texas is challenging the agency’s ruling in court on grounds that the state’s industries and refineries would be disproportionately harmed. At this time all other states have either adopted or put forth a plan to meet the current EPA standards.