Environmental Quality

Air quality control technology. Support efforts that will prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) re-interpretation of best available control technology to require changes in fuel source for combustion sources or any alternatives that represent fundamental changes in design or purpose of a proposed emission source not related to emission controls.

Clean Air Act Amendment. The developments in air quality and air quality regulation have rendered the specific provisions of the original Clean Air Act less than useful in addressing the current conditions, sources of pollutants and technologies available. Just as changing circumstances led to the major amendment of the Clean Air Act in 1990, it is time, after more than two decades, to re-visit the statute and make changes that will ensure that the statute is both consistent with its original intent and better able to address current conditions and needs.

  • Support amendments to the Clean Air Act that will clearly focus the act on pollutants that represent direct public health threats and prevent its application to greenhouse gases and climate change or energy policy.
  • Support Clean Air Act revisions to the State Implementation Plan process to address all sources of pollution, including foreign sources, restore the cooperative state-federal relationship intended in the original Act, and modify the rulemaking process to ensure that costs and benefits of air quality regulations are accurately determined and used appropriately in decision-making.

Climate and energy policy.

  • Support federal research efforts on climate change if those efforts are focused on an understanding of the natural functions of global climate and forcing factors and fairly consider all sources of legitimate scientific evidence.
  • Support federal climate and energy legislation that promotes the production of domestic energy sources in the most environmentally protective manner that is economically practical.
  • Oppose greenhouse gas limitations that do not derive from energy efficiency, development and utilization of clean energy technology and market-based incentives for changes in energy production and consumption.
  • Oppose greenhouse gas limitations that do not equitably apply to all global emission sources, will not have any significant effect on actual greenhouse gas conditions or adversely affect the competitive position of U.S. businesses in world markets and simply shift business activity and greenhouse gas production overseas.
  • Support efforts to require that any greenhouse gas regulation adopted by EPA must first demonstrate a positive ratio of costs to benefits solely within the United States and cannot be based on a cost analysis in which presumed benefits from other countries offset negative economic factors in the U.S.
  • Support efforts to ensure that cost analyses include infrastructure improvement costs required to reach environmental goals (e.g., pipeline or electric transmission and distribution build out related to new generation facility construction or fuel conversion).
  • Oppose cap-and-trade proposals for greenhouse gas regulation intended to affect energy markets or prices.
    Support attempts by Congress to re-assert its constitutional role to establish regulatory authority in law and prohibit EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
  • Support revisions to the Clean Air Act that will restore a common-sense focus on actual pollutants and direct protection of public health rather than efforts to implement an energy policy agenda through regulation of air quality (e.g., “Clean Power Plan” greenhouse gas and oil and gas facility methane rules).
  • Support efforts to require that the analysis of environmental and public health benefit from federal rules, including the Clean Power Plan, be limited to those benefits that are specifically attributable to the pollutant or constituent for which the statutory authority to regulate is cited by a federal agency in promulgating the rule. Support efforts that will prohibit the double counting of benefits that have already been accounted for in the regulatory analyses of pollution controls or reductions that the agency has previously addressed or is required to address under other, more specific authority.

Coal combustion wastes.

  • Support efforts to ensure that states retain the primary legal authority to regulate management, storage and disposal of coal combustion wastes.
  • Oppose any efforts by EPA to reclassify coal combustion wastes or by-products as hazardous waste or impose any additional material storage or use requirements that are not based on a clearly demonstrated and documented risk to public health.
  • Support a regulatory framework that provides for the continued ability to recycle or use coal combustion wastes for ancillary purposes (e.g., concrete manufacture) and does not require unduly burdensome storage requirements.
  • Environmental justice. Support the granting or renewal of permits on the basis of the technical sufficiency of an application for approval and appropriate environmental and health-based standards. Oppose efforts by the EPA to use environmental justice concerns to prevent industrial and business development of an area based upon its racial and economic demographics.

Endangered species. Support comprehensive reform of the Endangered Species Act that will:

  • End the practice of preventative listings and require that no species can be listed as endangered until a proper scientific basis for listing has been clearly established;
  • Balance costs and benefits and ensure that the economic activities that are shown to actually negatively affect an endangered species are accommodated to the maximum extent practicable;
  • Support voluntary efforts that can be shown to provide adequate species accommodation without having to list a species;
  • Recognize that species survival may depend on natural changes in population dynamics and that it is not the role of government to alter or attempt to change the outcome of natural species interactions. No regulation or prohibition of economic activity is warranted in response to an endangered species listing to address the natural interaction of one species and another; and
  • Streamline the process of delisting so that unnecessary regulation of economic activity based on outdated or inadequate scientific justification is ended as soon as a factual basis for the delisting is confirmed.
  • Support efforts to adjust the required response of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to petitions to list endangered species consistent with budget appropriations and resources and prohibit the use of the process of “sue and settle” for the purpose of establishing schedules for listing decisions that preclude the opportunity to develop an adequate scientific basis for listing.

EPA regulatory actions. Support efforts to prohibit EPA or other federal regulatory agencies from arbitrarily rescinding or re-interpreting regulatory policies, guidance documents or agency regulatory authority except as expressly provided by law, including all applicable public notice and comment opportunities. Also, support efforts to require EPA to limit the number and significance of proposed rule changes and regulatory actions to ensure that all statutory requirements for analysis of potential cost and environmental impact are fully complied with and that all affected parties have both appropriate notice of proposed actions and adequate opportunity to assess and respond to EPA initiatives.

National Air Quality Standards.

  • Support efforts to limit further attempts by EPA to impose more stringent ozone or other pollutant National Ambient Air Quality Standards until efforts to meet existing standards are demonstrated to be achieving no progress in air quality improvement.
  • Support reform in the scientific review process for air quality standards to ensure that any proposed changes must be based on more clear and certain justification of risk reduction and protection of public health.
  • Support efforts to require that the technical justification for air quality standards be based on public disclosure and peer review of all scientific evidence, disclosure of conflicts of interest by researchers and other sources of data used to support regulatory air quality standards and rigorous standards for scientific validity.
  • Support legislation and Congressional oversight to ensure that federally-regulated emission sources are required to institute emission reductions contemporaneously with and commensurate with the reductions imposed upon sources regulated by the states in attempting to meet federal air quality standards.

Recycling.

  • Oppose legislative efforts to implement mandatory take-back programs for consumer electronics, appliances or other products that unfairly place the cost burdens and legal liabilities on manufacturers and/or distributors.
    Oppose limitations and restrictions on the types of materials contained in electronics and appliances produced or sold in Texas.
  • Support voluntary take-back programs, and support research programs that would lead to increased recycling, refurbishment and reduction of hazardous materials in landfills.
  • Oppose recycling incentive programs that create enforcement liabilities for landfill operators who receive materials that are safely disposed in modern compliant landfills.

Toxicology and risk assessment.

  • Support efforts that will prohibit the imposition by EPA of more stringent environmental standards based on uncertain scientific evidence or solely on statistical correlations in the absence of clear demonstrations of cause and effect relationships between exposure and health effects.
  • Support efforts to require a more rigid and thorough peer-reviewed process for establishing any new environmental exposure standard or screening level.
  • Support efforts to ensure that conservative screening levels for chemical constituents established for the purpose of guiding further regulatory actions or permitting decisions are not inappropriately utilized as enforceable regulatory standards.