State of Texas, et al. v. EPA (Regional Haze Rule)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Tab Group

U.S. Chamber's Position

The U.S. Chamber, joined by the Texas Association of Business and 23 other Texas business groups, intervened in support of a lawsuit brought by the State of Texas and several businesses challenging EPA’s federal takeover of the “regional haze” air permitting programs of the States of Texas and Oklahoma. The coalition also supported a stay of the multi-billion dollar rule pending the resolution of the legal challenge. 

The Clean Air Act’s (“CAA”) “regional haze” program seeks to limit or prevent “visibility” impairment in areas such as national parks. Although state air quality regulators usually have the primary authority to implement CAA standards, in this instance, the EPA disapproved of Texas’s own proposed regulations to limit regional haze and instead took over Texas’s regulatory authority by imposing a draconian “federal implementation plan” (or “FIP”). This new “FIP” imposes stringent new limitations on certain air emissions. EPA admits the rule will cost at least $2 billion for companies in Texas to implement in the next few years. As a result, the rule could force some power plants to go offline, and drive up electricity costs for all businesses in Texas. What’s more, the “regional haze rule” will have little to no benefits for Texas: EPA admits that the new regulation’s “visibility” improvements are virtually imperceptible to the human eye.

The Texas business groups leading this intervention effort include: 

Texas Association of Business

Bay City Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture

Baytown Chamber of Commerce

Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce

Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce

Frisco Chamber of Commerce

Grapevine Chamber of Commerce

Greater Angleton Chamber of Commerce

Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce

Greater Hewitt Chamber of Commerce

Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce

Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

Lubbock Chamber of Commerce

Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce

Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce

Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce

San Angelo Chamber of Commerce

South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce

Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce

Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce

Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Roger R. Martella, Jr., C. Frederick Beckner III and Joel F. Visser of Sidley Austin, LLP served as counsel for the coalition.

Procedural History

Texas Association of Business, U.S. Chamber, et al. opposition to EPA motion to dismiss or transfer to D.C. Circuit filed 4/18/2016.

Texas Association of Business, U.S. Chamber, et al. motion to intervene filed 4/15/2016.  Granted 4/18/2016.

Motion for Stay granted 7/15/2016.

Order placing case in abeyance issued 3/22/2017.