Texas joins red state revolt against EPA ozone rule

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Texas has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its new ozone rule, bringing the tally of states challenging the regulations to nine. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that the state opposes the stricter limit on surface-level ozone because compliance with the rule would hurt business in the state.

“Areas of the country that fail to comply with these impossible standards will be subject to costly new regulations that will harm our economy and kill jobs,” Paxton said in a statement. 

“Texas has proven that we can reduce ambient ozone concentrations without stifling growth, and my office will continue to defend our state from the EPA’s harmful and overreaching regulations.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this year finalized a plan to cut the amount of acceptable surface-level ozone from 75 to 70 parts per billion. 

The rule change drew fierce criticism from Republicans and business groups, which have argued that the new level will be difficult and costly to comply reach. Business and manufacturer groups sued the government over rule last week.  

Environmentalists and public health organizations have defended the change against those challenges, but they’ve sued as well, saying the EPA should have limited ozone even more.

Paxton challenged the rule in federal court last week, ahead of a Christmas Day deadline for lawsuits against it. 

Another group of states, led by Arizona, challenged the rule in October, questioning whether the EPA conducted an appropriate scientific review before issuing the new standards. Nine states in total — Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin — are fighting the ozone standards.