Last Updated:April 23 @ 05:10 pm

Perry urges Obama to halt new air standards

By April Castro

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Monday asked President Barack Obama to use his executive authority to prevent or delay implementation of stricter pollution standards, saying they will have an "immediate and devastating" effect on the state.

The standards have stirred up Texas' largest energy companies, which say they don't have adequate time to meet the deadlines without shutting down plants and jeopardizing the reliability of Texas' electric grid. Implementation of the rules starts Jan. 1.

In the letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Perry said the implementation of the Cross State Air Pollution Rules will have an "immediate and devastating effect on Texas jobs, our economy and our ability to supply the electricity our citizens, schools and employers need."

Perry released the letter as he tries to shore up support among conservatives in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

The White House did not immediately have a comment on the letter.

The new clean air rules are designed to significantly reduce smog and soot pollution by requiring 27 states, including Texas, to decrease smokestack emissions. The new guidelines apply to sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, which mostly come from coal-fired plants.

Texas has 19 coal-fired power plants — more than any other state — and plans to build nine more. It is one of the few states still adding coal-fired plants and releases more air pollutants than any other state. Most other states are building generation plants that use sources other than coal, particularly natural gas.

On Sept. 12, Texas' largest electricity producer, Luminant, said it would shut down two coal-fired power units and lay off hundreds of workers if the new rules were enforced, even after the EPA offered to help the company meet the tougher standards.

"Mr. President, you have recently proclaimed that your administration is committed to creating jobs," Perry wrote. "These rules do not create jobs. They are a job killer in Texas, and they must be stopped."

Texas, faced with a growing population, few new energy sources and hot summers, has been vocal in its opposition to the regulations since they were announced in July. The state has asked a federal appeals court to review the rules.

Perry has used the new rules as fodder in his long-standing accusation that the EPA under Obama meddles in state affairs, lays down expensive regulations during tough economic times and is forcing companies to cut jobs to offset the cost of complying with environmental rules.

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6 Comments

  1. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    September 27, 2011 @ 11:45 am

    No problem with ‘job loss’, EPA says it will need 240,000 to enforce its regulations. Far more than the hundreds of jobs lost.

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  2. ridefreeComment by ridefree
    September 27, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    I’m a Texan. I’m conservative to a point. I’m also practical. Texas plans for 9 more generation plants should be for natural gas (in abundance in Texas) which is cleaner, would reduce logistical costs by removing the requirement to “transport” solid fuel (coal) to fire the plant (you can “pipe” gas) and would not increase cost to the consumer.
    Texas has the largest production of wind power generation and it didn’t increase consumption costs. We can do the same with new plants and close or redo the existing ones. It isn’t that we can’t (I’m not a democrat) it is because we won’t.
    That same attitude has cost us or lead in steel and other commodities in the world market. While other countries were renovating or building “electric” fired furnaces, we continued to use existing coal fired plants and failed to renovate, upgrade or build new works to our detriment in the world market.
    Although coal is abundant and inexpensive, lets don’t make the same mistakes with energy production were we can provide upgrades before it’s to late also.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 27, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

      I wondered why we aren’t using natural gas for the new plants. T. Boone Pickins is certainly doing his share to make it the fuel of the future, since he owns so much of it. I thought he had quite a bit of influence in Texas politics.

      My gripe with the wind power is that it takes a lot of those big, ugly things to generate much electricity. On top of that, getting the electricity produced by them to the consumer is tricky. I have friends who are being forced to accommodate huge power lines on their property to transport wind-generated energy. They have also been told that they will not be able to build any new structures on their property. Since their property technically isn’t being seized, they are not being compensated for the inconvenience. 

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    • haroldComment by Hal
      September 27, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

      We need to be building nuclear plants anyways, the latest gen plants are super safe, super reliable and scalable. Then if we would just build a recycler reactor to use spent fuel from other plants we’d be golden.

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  3. cynicalobserverComment by cynicalobserver
    September 27, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    These companies should have thought of air quality when they started. Now it is a little late.

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  4. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    September 27, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Much BS about air quality. Early in my brother’s career at EPA, EPA came out with a regulation for a level of a contaminent that nobody could even measure. Of course the EPA response was that someone will develop an instrument to measure it.

    Considering the hoopla about asbestos, I wonder how many US Navy veterans are still alive. All of those ships had tons of asbestos aboard. It is not a man-made product, it is provided by Mother Nature.

    Regulations are like steak. A reasonable amount makes a good meal, eat a ‘monster’ and you will get a bellyache.

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