EPA to issue greenhouse gas permits on behalf of Texas

“EPA is taking additional steps to disapprove part of Texas' Clean Air Act permitting program and the agency will also issue GHG permits to facilities in the state,” the agency said in a statement Thursday. “These actions will ensure that large industrial facilities will be able to receive permits for greenhouse gas emissions regardless of where they are located.”

On a conference call with reporters Thursday, EPA air chief Gina McCarthy downplayed the agency’s decision.

“All that we are trying to do is to ensure that Texas businesses that are applying for a Clean Air Act permit can get one and have somebody to apply to," said McCarthy, EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation.

“This is not EPA taking over the ... permit process for the state,” she continued. “We are simply going to supplement the state’s actions to ensure that we can have an emissions permit in the state standard that governs greenhouse gases.”

McCarthy said “discussions are by no means done” between the agency and the state on the issue.

EPA also announced Thursday it is taking over permitting for greenhouse gas emissions in seven states “until the state or local agencies can revise their permitting regulations to cover these emissions.” The states are Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon and Wyoming.