Texas takes EPA to court




Posted on February 16, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 16 at 7:26 PM

AUSTIN -- The State of Texas is taking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to court.

Top Texas leaders say the EPA used bad science when drafting new rules that say that the carbon dioxide from power plants and factories endangers Texans.

Now Texas leaders believe it's that ruling which endangers the Lone Star State.

"They’re using sweeping mandates, draconian punishments to force a square peg of their vision into the round hole of reality,” Governor Rick Perry, R-Texas, said at a news conference at the State Capitol Tuesday morning.

Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples are prepared for a years-long legal battle. They filed a 38-page petition asking the EPA to abandon its finding. They filed another with a federal appeals court in Washington.

"The EPA is required to base its decisions on scientifically reliable information, not dogma driving conclusions,” Abbott said.

”These regulations have the potential to drive domestic food production outside the borders of Texas and outside the borders of the United States of America. We need to focus on sound science and not political science,” Staples said.

In addition to weighing down Texas farmers and ranchers, the trio of Republican leaders believes the EPA’s rule uses information which has been discredited. Environmentalists stand-by the EPA regulation.

“Instead of suing the EPA, Gov. Perry should join the governors of 39 other states, by beginning to act on climate change or planning to do so,” said Tom Smith, Public Citizen.

“We’re here today to actually applaud the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding, because it is a necessary step to protect all Texans and our economy,” said Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club.

Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Public Citizen, believe the EPA’s ruling helped protect family farms already reeling from drought.

While they blame global warming, Perry cited evidence to the contrary.

”The data is clear now that the globe has not warmed at all since 1995,” Perry said.

Perry's leading opponent in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Key Bailey Hutchison released a statement saying she's been fighting the rule in Washington.  She characterizes the rule as disastrous for Texas.