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Joint Statement of TCEQ/PUC on EPA's CSAPR Rule

EPA's final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) that was released today will have adverse economic effects, without demonstrable environmental and health benefits. [This statement was originally published July 7, 2011.]

"EPA's own data showed Texas power plant emissions have no negative impact on downwind states. Therefore, EPA's decision to include Texas in the PM2.5 portion of the rule is not based on sound science and will result in additional federally mandated regulation of Texas' SO2 emissions that are not necessary for public health protection, and only result in negative consequences," said TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw, Ph.D.

Given the lack of demonstration of environmental benefits in the proposal, the TCEQ looks forward to reading EPA's response to comments regarding the technical deficiencies and errors of the rule proposal.

Furthermore, EPA failed to give sufficient or adequate notice regarding the potential details of Texas inclusion. The TCEQ requested a meeting with Administrator Jackson on June 7 to address these issues, but the EPA did not respond. The TCEQ and PUC wrote a joint letter to White House Office of Management and Budget Administrator Cass Sunstein on June 9 asking that he fully consider the effects of this rule upon Texas.

The TCEQ is concerned this rule will result in significant increases in the cost of power as well as curtailment or shutdowns of existing coal-fired plants in Texas. Other sources of electricity will not compensate for these shutdowns, especially in light of the Jan. 2012 compliance date. Texas PUC Chairman Barry Smitherman states, "A large percentage of Texas coal fired generation is lignite or lignite blended with Wyoming coal. In fact, we have approximately 18 plants, totaling over 11,000 MW of generation, that could be forced to add expensive equipment, further blend with more expensive out of state coal, or worse case, prematurely shut down."

This is expected to have far-reaching consequences on energy consumers, particularly elderly and low-income populations whose health and welfare are dependent on reliable energy without which they would face increased incidences of heat stress, heat stroke, and death. For citizens to be protected from harmful pollution, both federal and state governments need to focus their resources on real risks, instead of creating false crises that frighten the public and misuse public resources.

Additionally, these regulations have indirect effects of higher costs associated with the cost of manufacturing goods and the potential for lost jobs as the American economy struggles to recover and compete in the global market.