Governor Abbott Calls On EPA To Refrain From Issuing New Standards

March 16, 2015 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

In an ongoing effort to deter federal overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Governor Greg Abbott today issued a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, requesting that the agency void its proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone in favor of maintaining the current standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb).

“The latest regulations proposed by the EPA are a continuation of the federal government’s agenda that aims to stifle economic growth and job creation,” Governor Abbott said in a statement. “Instead of working against our nation’s job creators, Washington should be looking for ways to partner with them and create economic opportunity for all.”

In the letter, co-signed by ten other governors, Governor Abbott pointed to the unprecedented improvements in Texas’ air quality since the Clean Air Act was signed into law four decades ago and noted that the EPA’s arbitrary standards go to such extremes even some of Texas’ most pristine national parks would not be able to comply. Governor Abbott argued that the NAAQS jettisons free-market policies that promote job growth and economic innovation by imposing an “onerous, job crushing standard.”

The letter cites a Congressional Research Service study estimating the EPA’s newly-proposed standards could plunge anywhere from 76% to 96% of the counties currently monitored for ozone into “nonattainment.”

“Nonattainment is an economic penalty box so severe that needed economic growth is stunted,” the letter states. “In nonattainment areas, any growth is predicated on successfully navigating a bureaucratic maze of federal and state regulators. New development resulting in any new ozone emissions in the area must be offset with emission reductions elsewhere—turning economic development into a zero-sum game.”

The letter goes on to highlight the newly-proposed requirements that would jeopardize much-needed transportation infrastructure projects, stating “Roads that would add desperately needed capacity in nonattainment areas would be subject to review by multiple federal agencies—despite the fact that many of these projects may actually reduce ozone emissions by relieving congestion.” 

The 11 states that have signed onto the letter are: Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Wisconsin, Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina and Arkansas.

View Governor Abbott’s letter to Gina McCarthy and the EPA.