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Texas vs EPA – the saga continues

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a December 1, 2011 deadline for 13 states to develop plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, as the agency prepares to implement its major new rule January 2.

A dozen of the states plan to submit emissions plans that do not account for GHG emissions, thereby triggering federal control of their GHG permitting process, but the process between EPA and those states is an expected amicable agreement.  Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, and Wyoming will submit plans by December 22 and Kentucky; Clark County, Nevada; Connecticut, parts of California and Nebraska are expected to submit their plans after the beginning of the year.

This will enable 49 of the states to issue permits on or around January 2, either themselves or through the EPA.  But Texas, the lone holdout, did not say when it would submit a GHG plan, continuing a standoff with the EPA and the administration on its environmental policies. The state has also filed a series of legal challenges in federal court.

Under the rules of the Clean Air Act, Texas has until December 1, 2011 to submit a revised “state implementation plan” that accounts for regulating GHG emissions. Although the EPA, in its Friday announcement, said it would not wait until then to take control of the state’s GHG permitting and is planning additional actions to ensure that GHG sources in Texas, as in every other state in the country, have available a permitting authority to process their permit applications as of January 2, 2011.