AUSTIN — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar recently sent a letter to federal agency directors requesting additional review of the proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate the Permian Basin as out of compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
In his letter, Hegar asked the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and acting administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to consider the economic impacts of the EPA’s decision. OMB and OIRA may conduct additional economic reviews of proposed federal regulations and could provide for additional public input on the EPA’s proposal.
The Permian Basin produces 60 percent of the nation’s oil and almost a quarter of its natural gas. Oil and gas production directly and indirectly supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Permian Basin, and many more in industries that support the Texas oil and gas industry. In turn, revenue from oil and gas production in Texas helps provide funding for the State Highway Fund and Texas public schools and universities.
In 2017, the EPA originally found portions of the Permian Basin in compliance with NAAQS for ozone. In the spring of 2022, EPA published its intent to revisit this decision and find the Permian Basin out of compliance with these same standards. Hegar stated that the EPA deemed its proposal “nonsignificant” so that it could accelerate issuing a final decision and avoid review of its impact on the Texas economy or jobs.
If finalized, the EPA’s proposal would impose burdensome permitting requirements on any facility that emits ozone, including oil and gas production facilities. The EPA’s proposal would also require Texas to make multiyear plans to reduce ozone in the region, and its proposal would impose costly new requirements on businesses in the Permian Basin that would reduce oil and gas production, delay new construction projects and deter job creation.
Comptroller Hegar remarked, “EPA’s proposed reversal prioritizes Green New Deal politics over the jobs and the Texas economy. This is exactly the type of bureaucratic red tape that has come to exemplify federal overreach coming out of Washington, D.C. All Americans are suffering from historic inflation while the Russian invasion in Ukraine and supply chain bottlenecks have created a global energy crisis. This tone-deaf proposal could raise gas prices nationwide, undercut our allies abroad and add to global supply chain issues. I remain committed to protecting Texans and our economy from job-killing government mandates.”