In the Texas gubernatorial race, it has become clear by now that Greg Abbott is the candidate for anyone who opposes basic public safety regulations. He made that clear once again this week with his latest declarations against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its efforts to update the Clean Water Act.
On Monday, Greg Abbott threatened to sue the EPA and the Obama administration unless they back down from proposed changes to the Clean Water Act. According to the EPA, the proposals are designed to “close loopholes that leave more than half of America's streams and around 20 million acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development.” The changes are also in line with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the law.
Nonetheless, that hasn't stopped Greg Abbott from coming out against the EPA's proposal, calling it “unlawful” and a threat to property rights.
This latest threat of a lawsuit adds to Greg Abbott's growing crusade against the EPA and the federal government–a crusade that has been largely unsuccessful thus far. But Greg Abbott is still making every effort to ensure that pesky safety regulations don't stand in the way of big business.
Back in June, the Supreme Court largely ruled against Greg Abbott's attempt to challenge the Clean Air Act. Abbott, “along with an industry coalition that included coal and power companies,” had fought the EPA's attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Supreme Court almost entirely sided with the EPA–as the Texas Tribune reported, “The agency had wanted to regulate 86 percent of greenhouse gases that come from large facilities; under the court's ruling, the agency loses control over just 3 percent of those emissions.”
In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down Greg Abbott's attempt to stop the EPA from regulating Texas' system for issuing permits to power plants. All in all, Abbott has filed 28 suits against the Obama administration, including 17 against the EPA. Of those, he's won only 10, and just 4 against the EPA. The suits have cost taxpayers over $4 million.
Abbott seems to hope his latest lawsuit threat will up his win record. He certainly isn't looking out for ordinary Texans. If he were, he'd applaud the new EPA regulations that protect some of Texans' main sources of drinking water. As ThinkProgress reported, in Texas “more than 11 million people get drinking water from sources that depend, in part, on intermittent waterways such as arroyos or ditches.” The EPA's new rules would help protect those water sources from pollutants, keeping Texans healthier. As Marcelo Norsworthy of the Environmental Defense Fund wrote:
- “Regrettably, Abbott is using precious public resources to attack…protections for Texans. His penchant for rhetorical flourish is in sharp contrast with his actual track record. He has racked up a long list of court losses in his ongoing effort to weaken environmental and public health protections.
At this point, it is apparent that Greg Abbott, when given a choice, will put the needs of big corporations over those of ordinary Texans. Whether it's taking tens of thousands from the Koch brothers and telling Texans to “just drive around” instead of disclosing the location of dangerous chemicals, or receiving vast sums of money from the petroleum industry and then suing the EPA to stop environmental regulations, Greg Abbott has proven time and time again that he doesn't care about protecting Texans' public health.