On April 29, 2019, EPA Region 6 issued a proposed action, which indicates it is considering an “alternative interpretation regarding affirmative defense provisions” of the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP). The proposed interpretation departs from nationally applicable policies set forth in a 2015 EPA rule that explicitly disapproved this Texas SIP and other SIPs with similar provisions. EPN concludes that the Region 6 proposal fails to explain the reason an alternative interpretation is warranted, lacks a legal or technical justification that the revision would protect public health, and fails to show that it is consistent with the Clean Air Act. The approval of the Texas SIP would sanction emissions of substantial amounts of unhealthy air pollution, emitted contrary to legal requirements, but excused from enforcement through the mechanics of an “affirmative defense.” Region 6 has not provided an adequate, legally justified explanation for why Texas should be treated differently than other states. If finalized, this rule would open the door to any other EPA region seeking a similar exception. EPN is urging EPA not to approve this element of the Texas SIP.
Read a summary of the comments: EPN Summary of Comments on Region 6 Texas SIP
Read the full comments: EPN Comments on Region 6 Proposed Texas SIP