9/6/2011 1:55 PM
President Barack Obama put the Environmental Protection Agency's new smog rule on hold until 2013. The action was sought by business, who objected vehimently to the new clean air standards as damaging to the economy. That said, Texas isn't out of the woods yet -- not even close. The EPA's cross-state pollution rule threatens reliability on the state's electric grid. Last week, the state's grid operator -- the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) published a report quantifying the threat the rule poses to Texas electric reliability.
"I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover," said Obama in a published statement. "With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time. Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013. Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered. I want to be clear: my commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering."
Texas officials are pleased about withdrawing the Ozone standards but are still concerned about the EPA's behavior toward the state. “This is the first EPA decision I’ve agreed with under the Obama administration, and I’m pleased that they are taking an important step that will help keep jobs in Texas,” said House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio). “I look forward to a more balanced approach from the Obama administration when it comes to protecting our environment and growing our economy.”
The cross-state rule, however, is still the source of a lot of concern among state elected officials and the energy industry.