Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Some in Texas At Odds With Cross State Pollution Rule

Many people in Texas are upset about the new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that is scheduled to take effect in 2012. According to the EPA’s FAQs on the rule it is gradually replacing the Clean Air Interstate Rule with one that considers the lower nitrogen oxides, also called NOX, emission levels that came about from modeling updates that included – “lower natural gas prices, reduced demand, newly-modeled consent decrees and state rules, and updated NOX rates to reflect 2009 emissions data.”

Texas Pollution Data

For Texas, little changes, other than it will need to watch its ozone season NOX emissions more closely and some of its 19 coal-fired power plants will have to update equipment to lower the amount of pollution they send over neighboring states. According to an EPA document, the state will be allowed to put a little more than 63,000 tons of Ozone-Season NOX into the air with a 13,000 ton variability limit, meaning it can release about 76,000 tons of NOX into air that often travels over other states. That’s more than any other state currently falling under CSAPR and is seven times more than another large state in the group — New York.

Some in Texas claim the pollution so far is not significant, but with Texas on a rapid population growth curve its aging power plants will need to be augmented by new ones and the owners of some existing ones have not bothered to take advantage of readily available technologies that will cut their emissions. Some Texans are whining about the short timeframe allowed for upgrading equipment at power plants but the state can replace the federal implementation plan with a state implementation plan at any time, allowing it to select the sources of NOX to control and to allocate allowances across all programs.

It seems opponents to the CSAPR in Texas are using the issue to engage in more state’s rights rhetoric instead of considering itself a part of the whole, and moving forward instead of always looking behind.

Here is some balanced reporting. Here is Texas’ own environmental quality commission’s opinions. Here is the EPA’s CSAPR information.

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