EPA

Greenhouse Gas Regulations
11:18 am
Mon June 2, 2014

New Carbon Rules Could Have Big Impact on Texas

A coal power plant in Fayette, Texas.
Credit Andy Uhler/KUT News

Big changes could be coming for Texas power plants. The Obama administration is announcing new rules today aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants – the chief culprit behind global warming.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants in the U.S. by 30 percent (from their 2005 levels) by 2030. That “is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year,” according to the EPA. In Texas, that drop will need to be even higher: the state’s carbon emissions from the power sector will need to fall 39 percent by 2030 under the proposal.

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Environment
8:26 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Texas Watches State of the Union with an Eye on Energy

U.S. President Barack Obama speaking to a crowd in Austin in 2010.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Even before the President’s State of the Union Address was over last night, some environmental and renewable energy groups were sending out congratulatory emails.

“We thank President Obama for his leadership” read one from the Solar Energy Industries Association. The speech outlined “clean energy solutions”  said the group Environment Texas.

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Environment
2:24 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

EPA, Texas Finalize Air Permitting Program

The Valero refinery in Three Rivers, Texas. The state and the EPA are implementing an agreement on air permits today.
flickr.com/pyxopotamus

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.

KUT News' pals at StateImpact Texas covered the announcement then. Here's a little bit from their report:

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.

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Environment
12:35 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Texas Officials Cheer As Court Reverses EPA Pollution Rule

The EPA says cross-state air pollution rules are necessary to protect air quality but a court decided the regulation was too far-reaching.
Environmental Protection Agency

You could call it a win for Texas officials in their ongoing battle against the Environmental Protection Agency.

A federal appeals court decided this morning the EPA went beyond its authority with a cross-state air pollution rule. The rule would have clamped down on power plant pollution that affects air quality in neighboring states. It was set to go in effect in January but several states, including Texas, sued to stop it.

Attorney General Greg Abbott is leading the charge for Texas against the EPA. He issued this statement about today's ruling:

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AM Update: 8/14/12
8:35 am
Tue August 14, 2012

AM Update: DOJ Defends UT in Race Case, Win for Texas Over EPA, A&M Shooting Update

Admissions policies at UT regarding race are at the center of a case going before the U.S. Supreme Court
Flickr.com/brendel

Justice Department Supports UT’s Admissions Process

The Obama Administration says the University of Texas at Austin's consideration of race in admitting students is constitutional. 

The U.S. Justice Department revealed its support in a brief filed yesterday with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Department says UT does not use race as an absolute deciding factor and that it comes into play in relatively few admission decisions.

Supreme Court justices will hear arguments on the case, known as Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin in October. Abigail Fisher is challenging the university’s admission policy, claiming that she was denied admission to UT in 2008 because she is white.

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AM Update
7:54 am
Fri June 8, 2012

AM Update: EPA May Approve Clean Air Plan, Free Life Jackets, New Disc Golf Course

Texas power plants face new air quality controls; LCRA promotes water safety with life jacket giveaway; New disc golf course opens Saturday.
KUT News; Photo courtesy Flickr.com/jaako; Photo courtesy Flickr.com/heartlover1717

EPA Hints at Approval of TCEQ Air Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  has signaled it will likely approve changes to the state’s clean air plan.

A revised plan from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality establishes site-wide emission caps with specific monitoring at units for existing major sources of air pollution. The EPA said the proposal gives the industry more flexibility in day-to-day operations.

The agency will seek public comment on the approval for 30 days before it makes a final decision. You can read more over at StateImpact Texas.

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Environment
5:22 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Court Grants Air Pollution Rule Delay

Photo by KUT News

A federal appeals court in Washington, DC granted the State of Texas a stay today against new EPA air pollution regulations that take effect next year.

The Cross State Air Pollution Rule would require some coal plants in Texas to retrofit their equipment or to switch to a higher-grade coal fuel, in order to meet new sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emission rules.

The injunction sets the stage for an court hearing in April.

Environment
4:38 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Texas Greens Cheer New EPA Mercury Rules

Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.
Photo by Tom Pennington

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new rule on Wednesday aimed at reducing the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants. It is unlikely to improve Texas officials' low opinion of the agency.

"This is a victory for public health, especially the health of our children," said Lisa Jackson, the EPA's head, as she announced the rules at a children's medical center in Washington, D.C.

The rules will take full effect in 2016, Jackson said. "Before this rule, there were no national standards limiting the amount of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases," she said.

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Environment
3:48 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

New Series on Air Pollution

This map, using EPA Watch List data, shows air pollution levels in Texas.
Map created by NPR, CPI, and StateImpact

Today, NPR, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and StateImpact launched a new series investigating air pollution and regulation across the country. The series is entitled, "Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities." StateImpact has more on the project on its website.

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Environment
4:27 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Texas Officials Unmollified by Pollution Rule Changes

This flue gas scrubber, installed at a Valero refinery in Houston in 2006, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
Photo courtesy Valero

The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed scaling back some requirements of its cross-state rule for reducing air pollution — a rule that has incited the fury of Texas officials including Gov. Rick Perry.

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Environment
3:34 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

"Risks of Outages" Under EPA Rule, Texas Report Warns

Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.
Photo by Tom Pennington via the Texas Tribune

In a report released this morning, the Texas electric grid operator warned of "risks of outages for Texas power users" if a federal pollution rule takes effect as scheduled in January.

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Environment
5:10 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

EPA’s Proposed Air Quality Rules Could Affect Texas Fracking

Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new air pollution rules for oil and gas production today. The regulations are the first national standards for emissions from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, a controversial practice used to extract natural gas in the Barnet Shale and in South Texas, among other places.

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Environment
1:55 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

EPA Delays Issuing Ozone Rules Again

Vehicle emission is a large contributor to ground-level ozone. New, stricter standards were supposed to be issued by the EPA this summer.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

The EPA has once again delayed releasing stricter ground-level ozone standards. Those were supposed to be issued on July 29. This is the fourth time the EPA has delayed releasing exact standards.

The Bush Administration set the ozone standard at 75 parts per billion in 2008 even after EPA scientists had recommended a more stringent standard. The EPA has indicated that the new standard would fall between 60 to 70 parts per billion.

EPA press secretary Brendan Gilfillan issued this statement in announcing the delay.

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Environment
3:38 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Abbott Continues Battle Against EPA Regulations

Attorney General Greg Abbott renewed his claim that EPA greenhouse gas regulations are unlawful and unconstitutional
Image Courtesy of the Texas Office of the Attorney General

A statement issued today by Attorney General Greg Abbott says the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by “timing” and “tailoring” are unlawful and unconstitutional.

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Environment
1:08 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

Local Waterways Could be Affected by EPA Proposal

Photo by John K http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkay/

The federal government will be at work this summer on some proposals that could affect waterways you may be familiar with, including the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs. The US Environmental Protection Agency says Supreme Court rulings over the last decade have weakened the Clean Water Act and removed some waterways from federal protection.

According to the EPA, under current Clean Water Act regulations, many small streams that feed into larger streams, rivers, bays and coastal waters are no longer protected by the Act. This means polluting into these waters doesn’t require a permit. The EPA is examining how to change those regulations to ensure waterways are protected.

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Environment
1:53 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Texas Challenges Federal Car and Truck Emission Rules

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Environmental Protection Agency’s rules limiting vehicle emissions are based upon a “legally flawed” conclusion that greenhouse gases are harmful to the public, the State of Texas argued in a brief filed today with the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of nine states and dozens of shipping and manufacturing companies.

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Politics
5:07 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Texas House To EPA: Don’t Regulate Our Greenhouse Gas

Photo by Karen Sheetshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/karensheets/

The Texas House approved a measure 107-34 today urging US Congress to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions in the Lonestar State.

House Concurrent Resolution 66 (HCR 66) claims that EPA regulations constitute “an abuse of power” and “are projected to cost Texas more than 300,000 jobs” because of higher energy prices and the costs associated with regulatory compliance.

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Environment
4:01 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Ozone Season's Greetings!

Austin Mayor Lee Leffignwell marked the start of Ozone Season with a press conference at City Hall.
Mose Buchele for KUT News.

It's that time of year again. 

April 1 to October 31 is ozone season in Central Texas.  These are the months when we expect the highest amounts of ground level ozone in the air. Last year, the Austin area came dangerously close to falling out of attainment of the federal clean air standard of 74 parts of ozone per-billion.  With the Environmental Protection Agency set to announce even stricter standards, it could be even harder for the region to stay in attainment this year.

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environment
10:57 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Las Brisas Permit Approved

The TCEQ has okayed a permit for a coke-fired power plant near Corpus Christi
Image by Nasha Lee for KUT News

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved an air permit for the $3 billion Las Brisas petroleum coke-fired power plant in Corpus Christi against the recommendations of two state administrative law judges and the Environmental Protection Agency. (Read the story from KUT.)

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Greenhouse Gases
6:27 pm
Wed January 12, 2011

Texas Loses Another Greenhouse Gases Battle with the EPA

New coal plants will now have to obtain permits for greenhouse gas emissio under the new federal law but Texas has refused to comply. A federal court ruled the EPA can take over greenhouse gas regulation in Texas.
Jonathan Warner/Flickr

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied Texas a ruling Wednesday that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from taking over the permitting process for the state's larger greenhouse gas emitters, like coal plants and oil refiners.

The ruling lifts a temporary stay that was granted to Texas on December 30, one week after the EPA announced the new greenhouse gas regulations.

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