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Abbott Pushes Back on Potential EPA Ruling


Governor Abbott speaking at an event. | Image by Brandon Bell, Getty Images via The New York Times

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott pushed back against a move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday that he claims would severely affect oil production in the United States.

The EPA signaled it is considering redesignating parts of the Permian Basin to bring the region’s air quality in accordance with the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act.

The Permian Basin is a large sedimentary basin encompassing swaths of West Texas and Southeast New Mexico. It contains vast oil deposits, accounting for roughly 40% of all oil and 15% of natural gas produced in the United States, according to the Texas Railroad Commission.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Governor Abbott stated:

“While you express concern about out-of-control gas prices, your [EPA] is threatening to increase them even further. The EPA has begun a process that, if finalized, would jeopardize the production of 95,000,000 gallons of gasoline per day … The EPA’s process could interfere in the production of oil in Texas, which could lead to skyrocketing prices at the pump … Your administration’s announced action is completely discretionary. Thus, you have the power to stop it.”

The EPA found monitoring data and other air quality factors that indicate ozone levels, particularly in New Mexico and Texas counties, violate the Clean Air Act. If the counties were redesignated to “nonattainment” status, then “the state(s) will be required to submit a State Implementation Plan to bring the area into attainment with the 2015 ozone NAAQS.”

New rules intended to reduce air pollution could increase oil production costs by spurring new permit requirements, drawing federal scrutiny to drilling operations, and mandating anti-pollution technologies on drill sites, according to Bloomberg.

Environmental activists initially drew the EPA’s attention to the matter in 2021. The conservation group WildEarth Guardians found that ozone levels in the basin had been surpassing federal standards for years. They first petitioned the EPA to designate parts of the region nonattainment status but to no avail. According to Bloomberg, they subsequently threatened to sue the agency to compel it to action.

It is unclear whether the EPA will proceed with the redesignation, but a ruling on the matter is expected to go into force come September.

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1 month ago

Although Biden has the power to stop the EPA’s redesignation I doubt that he knows anything about it since he he is not in charge of running the country. The country is being run by the activists and lackeys in his administration.

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