Texas Flexible Permits (2012)

Texas Flexible Permits: Do They Allow Texas Refineries an Unfair Advantage or an Economical Way to Meet Emission Requirements?

Author: Jordan Surratt
Published: July, 2012

Due to incompatibilities between the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Texas Flexible Permits, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently rejected the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued Texas Flexible Permits. The rejection has caused many Texas refineries to operate under permits that violate federal law. Also, the EPA’s decision has sparked controversy over federal and states’ rights; whether the federal environmental agency, the EPA, or the Texas state environmental agency, the TCEQ, has the power to regulate the Texas refineries’ permits. The EPA’s disapproval of the Texas Flexible Permits has also raised debate over which system most effectively improves the environment without substantial effect on the economy. The implications of the EPA’s decision and the federal court’s response to the EPA’s decision will affect the many Texas refineries who are holders of flexible permits and the economy of Texas, and will determine the scope of the TCEQ’s authority. On a broader scale, the federal court’s ruling on the EPA’s decision will affect state agency power in general.

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