The State of Texas and the Environmental Protection Agency have been battling over air permits for years. But now it looks like there's an official agreement between the two.
This week the EPA announced its final approval of revisions to the state's permitting program for "major air pollution sources." But "final" may be something of a misnomer, because the two sides actually announced an agreement on the program way back in June.
So what are the changes exactly? Under the PALS program, emissions monitoring is done on specific units at each site under an overall emissions cap, as opposed to a blanket site-wide cap with no specific unit monitoring as before. “Even though they create some flexibility for those units, they don’t allow you to cover an entire site with pollution limits,” Soward says. The EPA also says the new program requires continuous monitoring.
The agreement still won't end the state's battles with the EPA.
There's still plenty of other points of contention between the two, including ongoing concern from Texas lawmakers that a national carbon emissions cap would be put in place. The state's conservative leadership has long campaigned that a carbon cap would hurt the state's economy.