EPA will Be Issuing Power Plant Permits in Texas Despite Greg Abbott’s Campaign for Governor

Abbott and PerryThere was never really any question, but just in case you were wondering, EPA will indeed be taking over the permitting of power plants in Texas based on new greenhouse gas emission rules.

The U.S. Court of Appeals slapped down Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's recent challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, one trying to keep the EPA from considering such emissions when they permit new facilities or approve large modifications on old ones.

A three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that the petitioners — which included Texas, Wyoming and a handful of industry groups — didn’t have legal standing to bring the case.
Judge Judith Rogers wrote in the majority opinion that the states had failed “to show how they have been injured” by sharing permitting power with the EPA.
Abbott, running for Governor since about 2006 or so, previously described the EPA rules as part of an “unprecedented and overreaching greenhouse gas environmental regulatory scheme” run by the Obama administration.
That this was all for show is a given. If Abbott had won the case, utilities wanting to build new power plants wouldn't have been able to get permission to do so. Like all of his two dozen previous lawsuits against the EPA, this one was more political than procedural.
Eventually, Texas will have to write its own greenhouse gas emission regs to correspond to the EPA. Eventually.

Downwinders on the March in DC

DC downwindersDownwinders at Risk Chair Gary Stuard and board member Molly Rooke were two of about 40,000 marchers yesterday in what's being billed as the largest rally for climate change action in U.S. history. Aimed primarily at stopping the Keystone Pipeline project that's snaking its way through East Texas, the rally was the culmination of a campaign begun by Bil McKibben and his 350.org effort two years ago. Joining Gary and Molly were busloads of other Texans including Hilton Kelly, a well-known veteran of Port Arthur refinery fights, whose hometown is now the destination point for the pipeline.

Despite the showing yesterday, and the President's pledge to finally act on the issue in his second inaugural address, many observers still expect him to approve the pipeline. Among the most popular scenarios being tossed around in the blogosphere is one where Obama first regulates Greenhouse Gas pollution from coal plants, the largest stationary source of such pollution, and then, after the applause dies down, approves the Keystone pipeline. Today's New York Times lays out the "knotty decision" the President faces in either alienating base support among environmentalists, or making unions and Canada very angry.