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Texas House to Study Impact of EPA Rules

Speaker Joe Straus on Thursday formed the Texas House Committee on Federal Environmental Regulation to take a comprehensive look at how an array of rules from the Obama administration will affect Texas and its economy. 

The committee will look at recently proposed or finalized rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including the Clean Power Plan, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the “Waters of the United States” rules, and new standards regulating methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector.

“Many House Members are concerned about the damage that these proposals could cause to our economy and about an expansion of federal power into the authority of the states,” said Speaker Straus, R-San Antonio. “The House needs to take a thorough look at how these rules will affect jobs, energy rates and future economic development in Texas.” 

For example, newly proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards could push Bexar County into non-attainment for the first time, forcing more regulations onto businesses in the San Antonio area.

The new committee will include the chairs of several House committees with jurisdiction related to federal environmental rules. Rep. Geanie Morrison will serve as Chair and Rep. Jessica Farrar will serve as Vice Chair. Speaker Straus also appointed the following Members to serve on the committee: Reps. Nicole Collier, Byron Cook, Drew Darby, Jim Keffer, Phil King, Brooks Landgraf, Armando Martinez, Ina Minjarez, Chris Paddie, Eddie Rodriguez and Gene Wu.

In addition to studying how new standards will affect the Texas economy and energy reliability, Speaker Straus has asked the committee to consider the financial implications of these standards on the Texas Emission Reduction Plan and how the Plan can help mitigate the effects of the new EPA rules. The committee will also look at the implications of creating a state plan to comply with the Clean Power Plan versus the federal plan that would result from non-compliance, and it will examine possible legal recourse as part of the state’s response.

“These rules could have a major effect on Texas,” Speaker Straus said. “The committee’s work will give us a much better understanding of what that effect will be and how we can address it in the next legislative session.”