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February 6, 2014

Dems, GOP spar over EPA’s role in Texas

Parker County’s Lipsky attends committee hearing in Washington


“I’m scared that if we keep doing this, we might go over a cliff,” The Tribune quoted Lipsky as saying in regards to loosening regulations. “In the end, the truth is on my side and the science is on my side, but there’s a lot of money on their side.”

Porter has cast doubt on Lipsky’s claims of being able to ignite his water.

The Texas Railroad Commission is now investigating at least nine new water contamination complaints in the same area and a report is expected later this month. Recently a consortium of 200 groups formally requested the EPA reopen its investigation into the Parker County water contamination reports.

The committee’s senior Democrat, Dallas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, pushed back against a “misguided and disingenuous war on the dedicated scientists and public servants of the EPA.”

The Democrats’ invited witness, health scientist Elena Craft, warned that 15 million Texans breathe air that fails to meet federal ozone standards.

Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, the former committee chairman, said he is “embarrassed” that lawmakers gave the EPA any oversight powers. He argued that many proposed regulations stem from “faulty science.”

Fort Worth Democratic Rep. Marc Veasey questioned whether the state’s unwillingness to work with the agency to regulate greenhouse gas permits hampered job creation. Initially, Texas refused to enforce the regulations, forcing the EPA to step in.

This week, the EPA agreed to relinquish permitting authority back to the state.

“The delay in the permitting process has put about 48,000 jobs at risk,” Veasey said. “Wouldn’t it have been better for Texas to work with the EPA?”

The Obama administration’s EPA has tussled with Texas’ Republican leaders for years. Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott have complained about aggressive federal enforcement. One of Texas’ many legal battles against the administration, Texas vs. EPA, is set to see its day at the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24.

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