Federal appeals court rules for EPA in Texas clean air case

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Monday supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to approve and disapprove parts of a Texas clean air plan, according to the Dallas Morning News.

In 2011, the EPA had approved Texas’ decision to allow power companies limited protection from civil fines for excessive emissions if the incidents were accidental and unavoidable, but disapproved another part that attempted to extend protection to incidents caused by scheduled plant startups or shutdowns, according to the Morning News. The agency said startups and shutdowns should not be protected because a company should be able to prevent those.

Environmental groups had sued the EPA to overturn protection for accidental upsets, while Luminant, Texas’ largest electricity generator, sued the agency over its refusal to protect all incidents, the Morning News stated.

In approving the EPA’s decision, the court stated the agency acted within its authority under the Clean Air Act.

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