Environmental regulation of air quality is supposed to be a cooperative enterprise between
the federal and state governments. Under the Clean Air Act, the federal government is given
the responsibility of setting forth air quality standards, while states retain primary authority
for implementing those standards.
In recent years, however, EPA has become increasingly aggressive in asserting federal control
over state authority to implement environmental regulations, to the point of encroaching
on traditional state prerogatives and even in defiance of federal law. EPA also has exceeded
its authority under federal law by promulgating many new rules with unachievable dictates.
In response, the state of Texas has increasingly had recourse to the courts, challenging EPA’s
actions on a variety of grounds. While EPA requires states, on pain of sanctions, to achieve
the air quality standards it has set forth, it has formally delegated to Texas (through the Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality) the authority and obligation to implement major
regulatory permit programs. The state is therefore uniquely suited both in terms of expertise
and state-interest, to challenge EPA actions it considers unlawful.
This policy perspective provides a brief overview of the major litigation currently pending
between EPA and the state of Texas.
Read the rest of this report at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.