TX-Gov: Rick Perry Defends His Dirty Texas With Frivolous Legal Action

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Key Point: Perry simply wants to nationalize his election with lofty rhetoric that are short on facts so that everyone can ignore the decade of failure he has pushed down Texas. The question is: Will Texas voters (and the Texas press corps) let him get away with it?

  • As of two years ago, Texas was the top carbon polluter in the country. (Source: USA Today
  • Bush's EPA, in 2008, denied one of Perry's waiver requests. This is not just an Obama issue. (Source: EPA)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has shown good faith working with Texas on addressing the problem — going so far as to delay, by six months, a study on the state air permitting rules.
  • Perry denies global warming exists, and the presiding officer of of TCEQ he appointed denies it exists as well. (See below)

Texas Governor Rick Perry is having the State of Texas bring legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency:

The state has filed a Petition for Review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and will also file a Petition for Reconsideration with the Environmental Protection Agency, asking the administrator to review her decision. The state’s legal action indicates EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists’ lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws.

First of all — I agree with Rick Perry that the International Panel on Climate Change would not be a good resource. That's because there is no such thing as an International Panel on Climate Change. It's the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

(Whoops!)

No real surprise from Perry here. He has steadfastly rejected the science of global warming. From a story by Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman, “Perry's strong views on climate change can be muted at home”:

Perry was unavailable for an interview on the subject, but his policy analyst, Zak Covar, summed up the governor's stance:

“He's not sitting back waiting to see what other states do [on global warming]; he's not convinced that it's an issue,” Covar said.

Perry has made sure that global warming deniers are at the top positions in state government. On August 25, 2009, he appointed Bryan Shaw — from Texas A&M University — to serve as the presiding officer at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Shaw, as Senator Kirk Watson found out during testimony from the Senate Committee on Nominations, also denies global warming (a major, major h/t to TxSharon for her excellent post about this at Bluedaze):

Senator Watson asked Shaw if greenhouse gasses emitted by human activity contribute to climate change.

Shaw responded that he does not believe the science is conclusive regarding human contributions to global warming.  Shaw confirmed that he does not consider the science on that issue to be settled.  Shaw mentioned that there is a consensus of scientists that still express skepticism about the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Senator Watson noted that all of the tenured and tenure-tracked faculty in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University have signed on in support of the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Back to the case at hand…

Ultimately, Perry is folding legal action against the EPA into a federal, 10th Amendment issue. The Supreme Court case that correlates with this legal action the closest is the Massachusetts vs. Environmental Protection Agency case from 2007. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not going to get into a legal argument — but there's a lot in there to unpack for anyone interested in the big picture legal battle Team Rick Perry is gunning up for.

What Perry should remember, though, is that this isn't “Obama's EPA.” In 2008, President Bush's EPA denied a waiver request from Rick Perry who, at the time, wanted the state of Texas to only comply with 50% of the RFS standards set forth by the EPA. The EPA laughed his waiver request out of the building — going so far as to say this:

In this decision EPA is also setting forth the Agency's general expectations for future waiver requests, including the types of information and analysis that should accompany a waiver request.

Really, Rick Perry may be the least competent person to talk about the affect of energy and the environment on the Texas economy. Perry's attempts to lash out against global warming are more politics as usual from a failed Governor who doesn't want to offer any solutions to help improve our air quality. Cleaner air creates a healthy living environment for Texas families, and a healthy business climate for companies who want to move to Texas. Rick Perry wants to shout from the rooftops to run against President Barack Obama. But Obama is not on the ticket this year in Texas — Bill White will be. And Bill White has an excellent record of protecting air quality while improving our economy.

About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

5 Comments

  1. Where is Rick Perry Really Leading Us?
    Wow. Rick Perry really isn't tuned in to what so many of us living and trying to breathe in the Barnett Shale already know. Here's some hard core scientific data. 3 minutes of your time:

    Rick Perry and his cadre of yes men are a big mistake for Texas' future. This isn't about destroying our state's economy. This is about a public health threat!

    Personally, I want the federal government to protect me from Rick Perry!

    Thanks to TXSharon for her videos. :)  

  2. Texas could do better
    Perry is using a classic technique with his lawsuit against the EPA….the tantrum, as invented by the five year old. He figures if he shouts loud enough, he can drown out the science, get his way and ignore the truth that global warming is real and that global warming agents are also public health threats. He could be focusing on what is best for the citizens of Texas and building a strong economic future for the State by making us a leader in green technologies. But no, once again Perry is looking out for the corporate interests of coal companies.

    Perry is not the voice of the Lone Star State. He is simply a mouthpiece for corporate lobbyists. The citizens of Texas need a new leader; a true leader. One who looks out for public health and will push for a robust clean energy economy and a strong clean energy job market.

    Rick Perry does not speak for me, he does not have my support and I would like to see a new leader in office.

  3. He could order TCEQ to turn over the ASARCO documents
    If Governor Perry is really interested in getting answers on ASARCO he should get his appointees at TCEQ to stop fighting Senator Shapleigh's request for the documents.

    San Antonio Express 1/27/2010

    Appeals court gets TCEQ records case

    AUSTIN – A state senator's pursuit of documents he believes will lead to a criminal investigation of senior staff members of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is now in the hands of an appeals court that heard arguments Wednesday about whether the records should be public.

    State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, wants all the records of top agency officials who met privately with representatives of a copper smelter while the company's application for an operating permit was pending before them.

    The attorney general's office has issued an opinion saying the agency has to release the documents. A state district court ruled the same, but Perry's appointees are claiming “executive privilege”.

    Who do these people at TCEQ work for?  It's not like the people of Texas need another agency working for the industry they're supposed to regulate.  The energy industry has enough lobbyists working for them.  They don't TCEQ industry lobbyists subsidized by taxpayers to work for them too.

     

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