Businesses Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law
Businesses Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law
The new law that was passed by the Texas state legislature is fundamental towards climate change regulation for businesses. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is a state agency that was established to protect natural resources. The article by New York Times reveals some of the issues that affected businesses in Texas because the state agency did not have the power to issue permits. The House Bill 788 mandates the state to regulate the control of greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses can acquire permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This permit also allows companies to construct and expand manufacturing and production facilities.
Climate change regulation is important for organizations in Texas, especially the energy firms. However, the businesses had to wait for the national agency E.P.A to issue permits. This delayed the business activities of numerous firms based in Texas. Environmental permits are crucial for companies because they act as an indicator that the organization has complied with the laws and regulations of the state. The delays in the acquisition of permits led to the loss of revenue for many companies situated in Texas. For instance, Targa Resources, which provides energy services, waited for more than one year for two permits. The permits hindered the expansion of facilities that cost $500 million in investments (Satija). This presents a valuable argument to support the new law.
The revelation by the article that the law was unanimously supported shows that it is beneficial for the business entities. In addition, it was supported by Texas Conservative Coalition, the Sierra Club and Koch Industries. Debates over the bill in the legislature were minimal to favor the author and representative, Republican Wayne Smith. He argued that the purpose of the bill was to improve the efficiency of businesses in the state. However, he was quick to dismiss that it was a bold statement against climate change and greenhouse gases. Business activities depend on laws in order to boost efficiency. Activities related to the environment and resources are restrained by environmental laws.
The new law is accepted because it will improve business operations. However, some argue that it should have been instituted earlier at the onset of national environmental laws. The relationship between businesses in Texas and the E.P.A was also tense because of lawsuits. This led to poor relations as the two parties continuously disagreed on environmental permits. The article highlights one case in which the state of Texas had refused to issue permits in 2010. This led E.P.A to take over the greenhouse permits for the state. Texas sued the agency for taking over the mandate of permits. The judge threw out the case for lack of principle standing. This is agreeable because the national agency attempted to assist the businesses in the acquisition of permits.
E.P.A intervened to simplify the regulation process for the industrial sector. Energy companies had multiple concerns over the issue of delayed permits. The postponed expansion and construction of projects was accelerated by the national regulation agency. However, the state had initially refused to cooperate on the issuance of permits. This created the need to have an organization that would issue the environmental permits. The consideration by the E.P.A to issue permits was acceptable at the time. The absence of the state prompted the agency to intervene and provide permits to the companies.
The goal of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is to promote clean water and air. Additionally, it aims at establishing safe measures towards waste management. The development of new permit rules is managed by the E.P.A. However, TCEQ objects to the limited timeline provided for the development of new permit rules. The agency advocates for additional time to create the pertinent laws. In addition, this would provide an opportunity for consultation with key players in the industry to create effective laws and support systems. It is essential for state agencies to establish laws in consultation with the business community to improve efficiency and compliance by both parties.
The E.P.A law was initially perceived to lack the authority to control the management of green house gases. However, the Supreme Court interpreted the law and indicated the powers of the agency. State agencies such as TCEQ should understand that the organization must perform these roles. The article also provides an important perspective from scholars such as David Spence of the University of Texas Austin. He highlights the issues forwarded by the state agency with respect to the law. Texas had previously indicated that it was not going to take the responsibility of regulating green house gases.
Indeed, environmental degradation resulting from human activities and businesses has led to climate change. I think that the institution of environmental law is vital for businesses. Organizations have the responsibility of ensuring that they protect the environment form degradation. However, the subject became politicized in states such as Texas leading to court battles between the E.P.A and state enterprises. The new law is essential to reduce the court wrangles and improve business efficiency. The next course of action for companies is to comply with the state laws to prevent delays in the provision of permits.
Satija, Nora. “Businesses Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law”. The Texas Tribune. 15 August 2013. Web. 11 September 2013.
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