Texas Takes Over Greenhouse Gas Permitting from EPA

The EPA delegated authority over greenhouse gas permitting to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) after months of negotiations between the two entities.  Texas is the leading greenhouse gas producer in the United States and was the only state in 2010 that refused to meet new federal greenhouse gas emission rules. 

The negotiations between the EPA and TCEQ began after the Texas Legislature passed legislation giving TCEQ the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions within the state.  The negotiations involved discussions on appropriate emission thresholds, permitting turnaround times, and the possible inclusion of a hearing process for permittee and applicants.

The proposed rule contains a transition plan for permits that have been issued but are not yet final because of administrative or judicial review.  The EPA would retain permitting authority for those permits.  A transition plan will also be implemented for permit applications currently pending that allows the applicants to elect to either remain under the authority of the EPA Region 6 or transfer to TCEQ.  If a permittee fails to choose within a specified time frame, EPA Region 6 will automatically retain authority over that application.

Once published in the Federal register, the public will have 30 days to comment on the proposed rule.  EPA will review and respond to any comments before it adopts a final rule officially transferring authority on greenhouse gas permitting from EPA Region 6 to TCEQ.  A final rule is not expected to be issued until April 2014 at the earliest.

Laura Patterson Hoffman focuses her practice in the areas of environmental and regulatory law, energy, tort and business litigation. Hoffman regularly assists energy producers with compliance issues and litigation relating to the Clean Water Act and other environmental permitting issues. She has practiced in federal and state courts and before the Kentucky Office of Administrative Hearings. Hoffman has also engaged in extended negotiations with the Kentucky Cabinet for Energy and Environmental Protection and various environmentalist groups. She also has experience in groundwater contamination litigation and contractual disputes.
 
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