Texas government has been fighting with the federal government over the control of policy issues including environmental regulation. Currently, Texas has eighteen pending lawsuits with the federal government related to education, environment, social welfare, immigration and social welfare. The environmental protection agency has been in the limelight and continues being Texas biggest opponent in the cordials of justice. This paper explores the nature of the dispute between the environmental protection agency and Texas legislators as well as business people. The dispute revolves around compliance with the new requirements of EPA for monitoring emissions and green house gases. In 2011 for instance, Texas government passed a legislation that barred EPA from engaging in regulation of emissions in Texas through the Clean Air Act. The EPA new requirements are a threat to the most Texas firms especially the coal plants because they could lead to closure of business (Report to the House of Representative 26). Texas electricity council argues that the new regulations are too expensive for plants to comply with and it would take a long period of time to replace firms that do not meet these requirements. These regulations affects Texas state ability to generate enough electricity for maintaining power during times of emergency such as 2011 blackouts that left the state without power temporarily. On the other hand non-compliance with the EPA regulations means that Texas risks losing the funding for its environmental programs from the federal government.
Benefits of the proposed EPA regulations if implemented
Analysis by (Spill Prevention, Control & Countermeasure 19) outlines the benefits of the new EPA environmental policy if executed. Texas could benefit in four major ways including added revenue, driving innovation and efficiency, selling energy to other markets and receiving a boost for renewable energies from the federal government. If Texas concentrates on drilling natural gas, revenue could rise from the current $5 billion to approximately $20 billion according to the SPCC report. In addition, Texas is rich in wind and solar power that it can leverage to replace the fossil fuels. If the state government demonstrates its willingness to explore the renewable, it would receive massive support from the federal government.
Further, if Texas could build on the renewable energies, it has capacity to generate more that the state can consume. Webber argues that the Texas could sell the excessive solar and wind energy to other grids making a lot of million dollars. In addition, Texas could become a technology hub driving innovation and efficiency if it turns to carbon-free energy. Innovative programs raises demand creating jobs for the people around. It only makes political sense to oppose the new EPA regulations but economically, Texas stands a chance of gaining if it embraces them (Foreword 12). To realize its full potential, Texas legislators should consider the pros versus the cons of the new regulations from a wider perspective. Although most Texas leaders have opposed the new EPA regulations, associations such as Oil and Gas association in Texas have remained silent because they have realized the value of shifting from carbon-based energy t other alternative sources of energy.
Cons of the proposed environmental protection agency policy to Texas
The aim of the clean energy plan advocated by EPA is to fight varying climate change through reduction of carbon dioxide emissions originating from the power plants. This comes at a big price according to Texas government electricity grid. Estimates from the state’s electricity council indicates that power bills are likely to increase twice fold once the power plants are rendered inactive endangering electric reliability in the state. EPA objective is reducing carbon emission in Texas by approximately 30% by the end of 2030. Texas government argument is however based on the fact that shifting from coal to carbon-free energy means putting in place infrastructure for supporting alternative energy plants such as natural gas, wind or solar. Texas house environmental regulation committee has not indicated any intentions of complying with EPA regulations from its recent meetings.
EPA recommends that shifting from carbon to other energy sources will lead to efficiency be reducing the amount payable on electricity bill by the Texas residents as well at the amount of electricity utilized on peak hours if electric reliability is a problem. The Obama administration has rekindled the dispute between the federal government and Texas by proposing new regulations towards combating carbon emissions. In response, the republican legislators in Texas said the new regulations are a big threat to the Texas economy and the overall American economy (Foreword 23). The new regulations according to Rick Perry will stifle the state’s economic recovery by increasing the cost of energy. The attorney General, Greg who is a key supporter of the governor vowed to go to court to obtain a court order restraining Obama administration from executing the new EPA regulations.
Recommended course of Action and the rationale behind the recommendations
The proposed EPA regulations contain numerous legal flaws. The regulations places the unnecessary burden to Texas and other states as well as the rate payers’ .The EPA regulations contravenes the clean air Act in numerous various ways rendering them unconstitutional. The proposal oversteps the mandate of State governments by demanding the use of natural gas instead of fossil fuels and coal. Instead, the federal government through environmental protection agency should propose achievable regulations and standards by the existing coal and fossil fuel plants. State governments and not EPA should be left to manage energy resources falling within their area of jurisdiction.
The state governments should have the flexibility of choosing the type of energy to use in generating electricity regardless of whether the policy is desirable or not. Section 111 (d) of the clean air Act gives the state the authority to take into consideration factors including the useful life of plants falling in their areas of jurisdiction. EPA has no right whatsoever to force the closure of plants without the approval of state governments. The Act also prohibits EPA from imposing costly regulations that threatens the economic competitiveness of state governments. EPA”s regulations are unreasonable because they contradict the existing set of laws by considering particular state government funded projects inappropriately. The regulations also violate the federal power Act that grants state government the authority to control their markets for retail energy. EPA should consider reviewing the emissions regulations because implementing them would lead to inequality in the manner in which some state governments are treated relative to others (Foreword 33). The environmental protection agency should only engage in regulating matters that it has direct control and authority over. The disconnect between the proposed EPA’s policy and its ability to execute it is evidence that it has no authority whatsoever. In a nutshell, EPA should consider abandoning the proposed emissions policy in its entirety.
Foreword: Making Sense of Information for Environmental Protection. Duke University School of Law, 2008. Print
House Committee on Environmental Regulation, Texas House of Representatives Interim Report, 2008: A Report to the House of Representatives, 81st Texas Legislature. Austin, Tex.: House Committee on Environmental Regulation, 2009. Print.
Spill Prevention, Control & Countermeasure (spcc) and Air Regulations Update. SOER, 2014. Print
Survey of Advanced Environmental Protection Programs in Texas. Texas Tech University, 2005. Print