The Courts Deliver a Labor Day Win to Texas
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By Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D.
Chairman, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
In its recent 2-1 ruling, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals voided the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). This ruling means that jobs threatened by these EPA rules will be saved--a Labor Day victory for all Texans.
The ruling will assure Texas families-- on this and future Labor Day weekends-- that they can enjoy the holiday in reliable, safe, cool comfort without shelling out even more money on utility bills. Or worse, suffer rolling brownouts and blackouts that mean no electricity at all.
Had the court not vacated CSAPR, the rule would have imposed onerous new costs on coal-fired power plants, causing some to shut down or curtail operations, which would cost Texas jobs. It also threatened electrical generation reserve capacity all over the country. These reserve margins are critical to avoid power disruption during times of peak demand, which Texas approached several times this summer. Even temporary loss of reserve capacity risks dangerous blackouts.
Texas is growing and the demand for reliable electricity is increasing at a rate of two percent per year. However, we are only increasing capacity by one to one and a half percent per year, which means the electricity demand is exceeding the supply. This rule would have thrown a massive roadblock in the way of bringing more electrical capacity online, and thankfully it is no longer an impediment to increased market certainty. More capacity will continue to make Texas the best place to do business, grow our economy, provide more jobs, and keep on our lights.
Like so many of EPA's other rules and actions -- such as extreme tightening of ozone limits and “global warming” control schemes -- the rule was not intended so much to improve the environment as to impose unnecessary, expensive federal controls on industry and to increase the costs of energy to citizens. Increased energy costs are especially tough on the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes, and they increase the price of nearly everything individuals purchase.
Hopefully the EPA will take this adverse ruling as another sign that times are changing. No longer will citizens, states, and industry stand by as the EPA destroys states’ economies; imposes higher costs on citizens; and threatens critical infrastructure for absolutely no environmental benefit. We stand as a nation to improve our economy, improve the health of all Americans, and improve our environment.
The EPA is called to work with states, not against them, and should cease its unlawful power grabs.