Statement Concerning 5th Circuit Decision Regarding the Texas Flexible Permitting Plan
From Neil Carman, Air Program Director for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club:
“Today’s ruling does nothing to change the fact that approximately 100 refineries and chemical plants hold air permits which are not based on an approved state plan. Further, these facilities are subject to citizen suits and government enforcement until they get in to the approved plan.
The Texas Council on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has an approved permitting program which covers the vast majority of industry in the state. The TCEQ asked the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for permission to modify the program in order to add a "flexible" permitting system for air pollution. The EPA denied that request, but the Court has now asked EPA to justify its reasons. It is important to realize that until EPA approves the flexible permitting system, the TCEQ must rely on the existing air pollution permitting program. The court ruling today does nothing to change that fact.”