AUSTIN – State Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford) today expressed his frustration with the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to include Wise County in its DFW non-attainment area. Yesterday the EPA announced their designation of Wise County to the non-attainment area, citing their belief that pollution levels had increased in the county due to natural gas exploration activities in the Barnett Shale.
This announcement comes in the wake of extremely controversial comments that surfaced last week made by the EPA Administrator over Texas, Al Armendariz, regarding the oil and gas industry. Armendariz’s comments that the EPA was out to “crucify” the oil and gas industry were made in 2010, but just released days ago, and led to his resignation last week.
“I’m very concerned that these new regulations are based on bad science and divisive politics,” King stated, “It is highly suspect that days after the head EPA official in Texas proves that the agency has animosity towards the most important economic driver in our state, that these job killing regulations are put forward by that same agency. It is nothing short of shameful that the Obama Administration continues to target and harm hardworking Texans to further their petty political games.”
King further explained that this attempt to add new air regulations seems to be the latest attempt of the federal government to encroach on Texas’ sovereignty. Over the past couple of years, the EPA has assumed control of regulating certain manufacturing and processing plants in Texas by invalidating Texas' own successful Flexible Permits Program; devised a regulatory scheme for “cross-state emissions,” resulting in many Texas electric generation plants planning to shut down operations; injected themselves in local oil and gas production issues; and launched a study on Texas natural gas producers' fracking procedures. All of these functions have been previously under the authority of the state of Texas. King noted that federal courts have ruled against the EPA in at least two of these instances recently, showing that the EPA has overstepped its authority.
King joined dozens of local, state, and federal officials earlier this year in calling for the EPA to reconsider their pending designation of Wise County, among other counties in Texas, into the non-attainment area.