New development in Texas-EPA struggle won't have a big impact in Victoria

By by Dianna Wray
Jan. 13, 2011 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 12, 2011 at 7:13 p.m.

The federal government can now oversee greenhouse gas permits in Texas, but that should not affect Victoria much, a city official said.

Late last month a federal court denied an appeal by the state of Texas that would prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from overseeing greenhouse gas permitting in Texas.

The court's action shouldn't affect the city of Victoria much, Marie Lester, environmental services coordinator for the city of Victoria, said.

Texas is the only state in the country to refuse to comply with new regulations for greenhouse gas emissions. The state is suing the federal agency over the agency's plan to regulate these emissions.

The EPA was originally scheduled to take over air permits for large emitters of greenhouse gases such as refineries, plants and power plants on Jan. 2.

The court's new ruling gives the federal agency that power.

This will impact these types of businesses applying for air permits relating to greenhouse gases, but so far, refineries and power plants that plan to build or expand their operations in the area and would need the permits haven't been effected.

International Power Coleto plant manager Robert Stevens echoed Lester's sentiments.

Since Coleto's air permits have already been issued, the ruling won't have any bearing on plans to expand the coal plant.

"It shouldn't impact us. We've already got our permits and our air permit is in place, so it shouldn't impact us at all," Robert Stevens said.

Caterpillar is slated to build a $150 million 600,000-square-foot manufacturing company, scheduled to be operational by 2012.

The ruling could have some impact on the company, but Jim Dugan, chief corporate spokesman for the company, declined to make a statement as the company is still evaluating how and if it will actually influence their plans.

While the ruling won't impact Victoria, Lester said she is paying close attention to the EPA because the federal agency was scheduled to release new standards for ozone emissions in October, but the new standards still haven't been released.

Victoria is in compliance for greenhouse gases, Lester said.

"We pay close attention to all of these things because they can impact us, but this ruling really won't," Lester said.



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