UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas has refused to meet new federal guidelines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency is issuing guidelines that will reduce emissions from industrial sources to improve air quality. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is reviewing new guidelines, but officials with the commission say they don't plan on accepting the new program that regulates the largest industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Organizations in Waco have been preparing for changes in air quality standards for nearly a year and say the new rules will effect everyone. "It could be anything from a new device on the end of a gas pump like you see in some markets, to asking businesses and industry to change out some of their equipment, change their emission standards, put all new equipment in maybe even operating at different times of the day depending on types of activities," says V.P. Strategic Development of the Waco Chamber of Commerce, Scott Connell.
Texas lawmakers say regulating the emissions will hurt businesses, especially big manufacturers and factories. The EPA says the new regulations are an effort to protect the environment, and will require permit writers and businesses to consider the "best available control technology" for reducing greenhouse gas emissions when modifying or building new plants.
The dilemma is how to put greenhouse reduction requirements in place while mitigating the costs for industries in an already struggling economy. Texas state environmental regulators continue to say the EPA doesn't have legal authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Texas will more than likely have to issue new permits to businesses when the rules take effect Jan. 2. TCEQ wasn't available for comment on the matter.