Skip to comments.Breaking News: EPA Takes Control of Clean Air Permit
Posted on 06/02/2010 5:11:58 PM PDT by EBH
On Tuesday, for the first time in any state, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seized control of Texas' jurisdiction over granting a clean air permit.
The takeover affects one key operating permit governing Flint Hills Resources' crude oil refinery in the Corpus Christi area (to which the EPA formally objected in December), but it sends a powerful message that Texas must comply with federal law.
EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz said the EPA is prepared to take control of Texas' entire air-permitting system because it violates the Clean Air Act, if TCEQ doesn't immediately begin requiring Texas air-quality permits that are federally sufficient.
"If the state agency is unwilling or unable to issue those permits, the EPA must and will do so," he told The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. Armendariz says the EPA will begin issuing its own permits for several plants for which it has filed formal objections; those include facilities owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Dow Chemical Co.
"The time for delay and for partnership and for compromise is very quickly coming to an end," Armendariz said. "We have to get the Clean Air Act implemented in the state of Texas."
Look who they are going after!
Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Dow.
HAH - why dont they go clean up the mess in the Gulf of Mexico
Let’s see if the ball-less wonder in Texas can grow a pair.
Trying to sieze as much control as possible before November.
I’d send some Texas Rangers after this EPA idiot and toss his ass into a Texas prison and dare Obama to send US Marshalls to get him.
Knowing Austin, the folks there probably favor the action. This paper isn’t The Statesman, is it?
God let this be a Fort Sumter moment ...
Can you imagine what Texas air is going to be like when the EPA people screw it up.
Good grief, certainly there are no more federal employees who actually think they are competent enough to do the jobs they are sent out to do (other than the Marine Corps and Postal Service).
If this were Japan and that oil well thing was going on in Tokyo Bay there'd be mass suicides in every agency of the government. We are long overdue for that.
LOL, but not BP?
I want YOU as the governor of TX!
“The time for delay and for partnership and for compromise is very quickly coming to an end,” Armendariz said.
Federal oppression coming soon.
We are seeing the overbearing socialist state
flexing it’s muscles.
The time for delay and for partnership and for compromise is very quickly coming to an end, Armendariz said.”
You got that right, chief...
The thing is, if the State of Texas has the balls...they need to fight them in court. Make them prove the TCEQ is insufficient.
“EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz”
Anbody check his papers?
States rights! hmmmm..where have I heard this before. Its a shame, but I guess we won’t be able to wear gray uniforms this time.
TCEQ Reacts to EPA Action on Flint Hills Refinery
Wednesday, May 26, 2010— EPA’s Actions Won’t Result in Cleaner Air, Will Result in Higher Consumer Costs
The EPAs announcement yesterday that it is requiring Flint Hills Refinery in Corpus Christi to submit a new air permit application is at odds with past EPA decisions and directions concerning the refinery.
The refinery was issued its flexible permit in 1995. At that time, the refinery demonstrated to the TCEQ and EPA that it met state and federal requirements and that the permit would be protective of public health.
In 2002, Flint Hills amended its permit and EPA had no comment.
The refinery received its initial Title V permit in January 2007. Again EPA was afforded the opportunity to comment but did not reply.
The TCEQ maintains that if industrial facilities operating under flexible permits are required to apply for new permits, it will not result in cleaner air. It will result in very substantial costs to industry in submitting these permits, and those costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher costs for fuel, electricity, and many other everyday products.
“The TCEQ strongly disagrees that Texas air permits violate the Clean Air Act. For the past 16 years the state of Texas has successfully implemented innovative air permitting programs that have resulted in significant air quality improvement throughout the state, said TCEQ Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D. Our flexible permits, which are similar to the federal government’s PAL (Plant-wide Applicability Limits) program in that they allow site-wide caps, are protective because they are based on modeling analysis that reflect worst case scenarios. The EPA cannot deny that Texas programs work. Instead, the federal government is more interested in a blatant power grab.”
I am frustrated by Dr. Armendariz assertion that the time for partnership and for compromise is quickly coming to an end. We should be partners; unfortunately, the federal governmentafter failing to act on our rules for some 15 yearshas decided that instead of working with us they would just tell us how to run our state-delegated program, or else, said TCEQ Commissioner Buddy Garcia. No one can dispute the fact that Texas air quality has seen tremendous improvements over the last 15 years. Much of that is due to the fact that the Texas permitting programs are essential and extremely effective. The fact that they feel the need to take over only proves my theory all along, they are not about results but merely interested in the process.”
TCEQ Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein said, “Based on Dr. Armendariz’s statements and EPA actions, I do not believe the EPA is interested in serious negotiations to settle their objections to our permit program. EPA has not bothered to respond to letters and even stated they may not review proposed rules. It seems to me the outcome is predestined, regardless of any actions taken by the TCEQ. I have been involved in successful negotiations in the past. The process followed thus far by EPA is not one that allows for that. The time has come to end the double talk about our partnerships. Come to the table and negotiate in earnest.”
The TCEQ has provided EPA several draft or final responses to flexible permit objection letters; however, EPA has not provided responses.
The TCEQ has had ongoing discussions with EPA and is working diligently to address issues and reach resolution on outstanding issues. The TCEQ will continue those discussions.
I thought you might be interested in this.
They should tell the EPA to go to hell, destroy both the blueprints of their equipment and the equipment,tell their help[employees] that their services are no longer needed and pay them in full, then go out of business.
Let the obama worshipping bastards go back to living in the stone age.
History is filled with countless episodes of people not knowing when tyranny was creeping in that tyranny is what it was.
Guess the initial, unprecedented take over of a State Agency by the FEDs isn’t important.
Sorry Mods. I disagree with your point of view on this.
1. All federal laws will be complied with.
2. Any state laws that are more stringent than the federal laws will be complied with.
3. Any corporate policies that are more stringent than the state laws will be complied with.
So for quite some time it seems that states can regulate in certain areas, but only if they are more stringent than the federal government.
This may not be right, but it is not new.
This EPA business has Obama’s fingerprints all over it. Pure and simple, Obama’s targeting Texas for it’s support of Republicans.
This program that the EPA is going after was started by Ann Richards (D) when she was Governor. The EPA never had a problem with it, until now. This is a purely political move and has nothing to do with the Clean Air Act.
The EPA can go to hell: http://texas.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/05/the-epa-can-go-to-hell-and-i-will-go-to-texas/
Someone who lives in this Texas County, please go to SheriffMack.com and buy the book by Sheriff Mack explaining that THE SHERIFF is THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY in his County. Sheriff Mack will mail it to the Sheriff’s Office if you give them the address. Buy yourself a copy, read it and then make an appointment to talk to your Sheriff.
If he’s read the book, he’ll see that HE has more authority in his County than ANYone, even the EPA or the FBI or the President.
He can ACTUALLY ARREST any Federal Agent, including the President, if he’s willing.
It would be soooooo cool to have a Sheriff arrest Obama and then refuse to release him until he shows his birth certificate to verify his citizenship.
EVERYONE who reads this . . . get your County Sheriff a copy of Sheriff Mack’s book.
And please join Oath Keepers. Oath Keepers is for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. It’s not connected to any other activity. Oath Keepers uses resources like Sheriff Mack’s book and pamphlets to teach the local teachers and police and sheriff’s officers.
>>States rights! hmmmm..where have I heard this before. Its a shame, but I guess we wont be able to wear gray uniforms this time.<<
Why not? The Yankee Army of Suppression wears blue.
That is correct, but this is the first time the Fed. EPA has taken over a State program.
Texas needs to make them prove the allegations of insufficiency.
The danger in this move by the Fed. EPA is that it can deem ANY state agency insufficient.
The Fed. needs to show where the Texas Air Pollution Regulations don’t at least meet Fed. requirements.
In the simmering battle between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz told the Chronicle this week that if the state doesn't start issuing federally consistent air permits by June 30, he is prepared to take over the job. Armendariz called from the Gulf Coast, where he's working the BP oil spill, about his plans to make Texas comply with the federal Clean Air Act. (See "Environmental Cage Match," May 28.)
Please, Texas, tell Al what Daley from Chicago told the EPA when they directed Chicago to clean up the Chicago River so people could swim in it (as though we don’t have a huge lake right on our door step): “Go swim in the Potomac.”
The simple fact is that TX is complying. What the EPA is trying to do is backdoor the climate change crap by throwing up technicalities on the permitting process. If challenged on the CAA they would lose because the CAA doesn’t allow them to shut down a refinery for CO2 without also shutting down thousands of other TX businesses that emit smaller amounts of CO2. The application of CO2 permitting to only large emitters is completely fabricated.
Objection 1: The Fed is objecting to the incorporation of a flexible permit to the Title V application. The State Issued permit needs to prove it meets Fed. regulations to be included or the entire Title V permit will be denied. (Business must stop operating until permit is approved).
Objection 2: Looks to be a documentation issue in the permit application. They are also claiming a major source permit is inserted in this section of the permit and should be documented elsewhere in the Title V permit application.
Objection 3: Looks to be a minor source on the permit that has had a revision way back in 1998. EPA is claiming the permit is now not good enough without further documentation.
Objection 4: Again it appears that documentation is missing. For a Title V permit one must present all documentation proving compliance. This may need to be actual testing, pollution control devices installed, etc. There is a certification statement at the end of the section that must be signed by an officer of the company.
Objection 5: Is dealing with point sources on the facility that have been exempt under pollution control standards. This is kind of tricky in that units like these can suddenly be required to have pollution controls mandated under a Title V permit. ALL sources must be accounted for and again, this is a documentation issue that the Feds. will require testing to prove exemption status on a Title V permit.
Objection 6: This is again a failure to properly document which emission sources fall under the regulations stated in the permit application. DETAILS! DETAILS! DETAILS!
Objection 7: More of the same as objection 6, just a different area of the permit application.
I’ve done Title V permits in my career. There is the notice in the front of the letter demanding they submit this information in less than the 90 day compliance time to submit the documentation. This is unreasonable and appears to be excessive. The applicant has the right to take the full 90 days to submit the documentation. The Fed. EPA has no authority to demand it sooner than the law allows.
I had the epa inspection of the water plant I operate yesterday. PITA!
They could very well be. Most Title V permits have an open period in which the public can submit questions and objections to the permit.
This is where I used to get crazy with the environmental groups as there was no amount of compliance that was sufficient for them. Even if you met the compliance regulations, they would still object.
Well it sounds to me like the EPA is using the “citizen petition” crap to deny the extension or fast permitting. The PDF just says “two citizen petitions filed with the EPA, dated August 28, 2009, and January 5, 2009.” I haven’t found those petitions on the EPA website and have no idea if they keep them there. What is interesting though is the Green groups bragging about how they are going to stop the refinery with this convoluted process. It is also interesting that the plant in question is owned by Koch which is accused by Greenpeace of climate denial funding. I think this is an intentional and deliberate first strike by Obama’s EPA goons to shut down CO2 via the back door, pretending that there are pollution point sources that pass Texas’ standards (they use facility-wide regulation). In reality they just want to shut it down by using Texas’ own logic that point sources don’t matter to climate change, just the totals.
I agree. From what has been written the feds have been extremely non-communicative. From what the feds have told them, there is no way that Texas can respond to either defend their plan as is, or modify it to meet with federal guidelines ... if there are such things any more.
We need to get these thugs hanging from ropes, pronto.
The federal authority to do this is right there in Article MCXLVII of the Constitution!
There are a couple things going on here.
First, I agree with you that the EPA is using this facility as a first strike. It is clear from all the reports they intend to use this facility as an example or to make the facility a bad example.
If this facility is required to have a Title V permit, I assume they have several Environmental Managers working for them. If I were them, I would be down right PO’d and have my environmental lawyers already on the line.
The EPA can order the refinery to stop working...shut it down. Now isn’t that a cute move and they will blame the TCEQ.
What is worse, that folks here seem to be missing, IS THEY INTEND TO MAKE THE TCEQ OBSOLETE. They are not just sticking their noses into this one facility, but the entire state agency is going to be shut down.
This is the first state to be threatened in this manner. I will bet we see more of this kind of stuff in the future. They will get their cap & tax any way they can.
I am totally new to this issue, but it sounds like the EPA is doing an end round to take over a state agency. Just a complete take over. WOW.
Interesting times indeed.
Do the state agency’s realize what they are up against?
Everybody is watching the big bill in Congress, but the EPA don’t need no stinkin’ bill.