Ken Paxton to Trump team: Strip Obama environmental rules faster


Paxton asks U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief to back off lawsuits involving Texas.

Obama administration “unwilling to engage with most states,” Paxton says.

Just as many environmentalists are wringing their hands over the speed with which the Trump administration appears to be dismantling pollution regulations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has the opposite take: Strip down environmental regulations faster.

This week Paxton sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Administration chief Scott Pruitt asking him to suspend and reconsider Obama-era regulations that Texas challenged in a dozen lawsuits that are still pending against the federal agency.

Pruitt has already signaled his distaste for the Obama-era rules, ordering a rollback of regulations, but lawsuits are still active over a series of rules, including the Clean Power Plan, that are aimed at ratcheting down greenhouse gas emissions. Paxton says the rules will cost electricity producers and ratepayers and the oil and gas industry.

The letter asks that to prevent Texas and other states from incurring “legal expenses and costs to challenge regulations that should be reevaluated, EPA should direct the Department of Justice to abate these matters pending further review of each rule.”

“Unfortunately,” says the letter, “the previous administration was unwilling to engage with most states, and took actions or issued rules ignoring the spirit of cooperative federalism embodied in the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.”

The Obama administration officials, for their part, had said that Texas and other states were often unwilling partners in regulatory matters.

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